The passage in 1860 of the Management of Indian Lands and Properties Act marked the shifting of the administration of Aboriginal peoples from the British Colonial Office to the government of the Province of Canada. Native people were not consulted regarding this move, which put their administration in the hands of those least committed to protecting their interests-the government elected by those seeking access to Native lands. William Prosperous Spragge was appointed as the first head of the Indian Department and held the position for the next 12 years. The conflicts between the Canadian government, which held assimilation to be in the best interests of the Native people, and the British Colonial Office, which had exerted paternal authority in attempting to protect the Native population on reserves, were now at an end.

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