At the turn of the century, the acres of land granted for the exclusive use of Natives were gaining in monetary and commercial value and were regarded with an interested eye by the non-Native communities adjacent to them. The Act empowered Frank Oliver, Minister of the Interior, to remove Natives from any reserves in proximity to a town with a population of 8,000 or more. The Indian Act had been amended earlier to allow the superintendent general of Indian Affairs to lease lands on reserves. Further amendments in 1911 allowed municipalities, railroads, and other public services to expropriate reserve lands needed for their own purposes. Although the Indian Act had originally stipulated that reserve lands could only be sold when approved by a majority vote of all male residents of the reserve over the age of 21, removal of this right was justified by reasoning that the money raised by sale of reserve land would benefit the resident population more than would the ownership of undeveloped land. It was a logic with which most reserve residents did not agree.

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Chinook Multimedia

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