FIRST FEDERAL INDIAN AGENT
FOR NOVA SCOTIA, 1868
The new federal government assumed its constitutional trust responsibilities for "Indians" and "Indian lands" with little enthusiasm. What little it did muster had a White supremacist bent, for they adopted the same policy the English had chosen "to solve the Indian problem forever" through extinction by assimilation. The government delayed for more than a year before appointing an Indian agent for Nova Scotia. Then, it appointed a man who had already proven to be less than supportive of the Mi'kmaq cause, not by any standard an action demonstrating conscientious care for duty:
Department of Secretary of State, Ottawa, September 28, 1868
Mr. Samuel Fairbanks:
I have the honour to inform you that, by an Order in Council ... you have been appointed ... Agent for Indian Affairs in the province of Nova Scotia, with an allowance of ten per cent on all moneys collected by you in that capacity.... Patents for Lands will be prepared on your transmitting descriptions of the lands sold and paid for; and ... will be forwarded to you for delivery to the purchasers.
Langevin made it plain in his memo that the government, by agreeing to pay Fairbanks a commission of ten percent on all the revenues he could raise by leasing or selling Indian Reserve lands in Nova Scotia, intended to manage its constitutional responsibility to protect Mi'kmaq lands by alienating them from Mi'kmaq use as fast as possible. This was the beginning of a pattern of dereliction of legal duty by the federal government that still continues to a certain extent today.