Doncaster, Quebec

Doncaster (officially designated as Doncaster 17 by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) is a Mohawk Indian Reserve in the Laurentides region of Quebec, Canada. It belongs to the Mohawk First Nation, specifically the people of the reserves at Kanesatake and Kahnewake.[3]

Indian reserve
Coordinates: 46°09′N 74°07′W
Country Canada
Province Quebec
Regional Countyn/a
EstablishedAugust 9, 1853
  TypeIndian Reserve
  Federal ridingLaurentides—Labelle
  Prov. ridingBertrand
  Total78.00 km2 (30.12 sq mi)
  Land76.13 km2 (29.39 sq mi)
  Density0.05/km2 (0.1/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)

The reserve is located some 30 kilometres (19 mi) east of Mont-Tremblant in the geographic township Doncaster, named after the town in England. It is uninhabited or occasionally sparsely inhabited, and used only as a hunting and fishing territory.[4]


On August 30, 1851, the act was authorized to set apart lands in Lower Canada for the use and benefit of the Seven Nations, First Nation tribes. Two years later on August 9, 1853, the Governor General in Council approved the distribution list as proposed by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, John Rolph. According to that list, the "Indians of Caughnawaga (Kahnawake) and lake Deux Montagnes" (Kanesatake) were allotted the south-east quarter of the township of Doncaster, behind the township of Wexford. The area indicated was 16,000 acres (65 km2).[5]

On May 26, 1890 a petition by squatters was signed in presence of Priest Lajeunesse then in charge, by some of them, 43 inhabitants of the Doncaster Township requesting the abolition of the Mohawk reserve in the township:[6] "Honorable Sir, Us subsigned, living in the Doncaster District, are asking very humbly for you to use your upmost influence to make the savage reserve disappear from our district and to make a land survey. This reserve which contains a large number of excellent lands proper to agriculture, located in the middle of occupied lands by a French Canadian population annexed to our village, is observed as an anomaly and all of them are hoping to see it disappear. Anyways, it can’t be of any utility to the savages who will never come to install themselves, since the games are lacking. Also, the wood is being stolen from all sides, they are taking the wood, so the sooner it will be measures, fewer damages will be done. We are observing that the reserve in the township of Doncaster is a big obstacle to colonisation progress in our locality. Our municipality is suffering from it since this reserve contains about the third of the district. For these reasons, Honorable Sir, we hope that you will favorably accept our request, and we won’t stop praying that Ste Lucie of Doncaster."

The period ranging from 1897 to 1905 is exposing the several attempts from Squatters of Ste. Lucie to obtain grants from the government in order to legitimize their own developments in the Doncaster reserve, despite the clearly established rules mentioned in the correspondences concerning its creation and purposes. The conflictuous situations in which the Squatters and the Mayor of Ste Lucie of Doncaster did all they possibly could to obtain clemency to keep promoting their developments in Doncaster, before the effect of the Chrome Mining Company precedent of 1920, is exposed in a memorandum-note from 22 January 1896, from the Ottawa’s Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs to E. L. Newcomb, Esq, Deputy Minister of Justice, Ottawa. “Sir, I beg to enclose this file numbered 34 070 of this Department containing correspondences respecting Squatters in the Doncaster Indian Reserve and would refer to Memorandum of 3rd December 1893 which gives a summary of the correspondence and also to letter addressed to Agent Brosseau on the 9th Ultimo and his reply of the 10th instant in which he states that the Indians are quite determined neither to lease nor sell the Reserve for any consideration and if the Squatters have made improvements thereon, the Department should charge them a rent for the land in as much as the Tribe requires the land for some of its members. Will you be good enough to advise me, under the circumstances whether the Department could succeed in a suit of ejectment against these trespassers or whether it could charge a rental for past use and occupation of the land and also for future use and occupation without a Surrender having been obtained from the Indians. Your obedient servant Deputy Superintendent General Of Indian Affairs.” [7] In 1904 the squatters were compensated for their land improvement and had to sign an affidavit exposing that they will leave the reserve to never come back instead of being sued for trespassing.

Then, the management proposed by the Indian Affairs responsible in 1905 suggested a "per quota" management by both nations, Kahnawake and Kanehsatake, considering that the population of Kahnawake was representing the 2/3 of the population and Kanesatake the 1/3. Even though this "per quota" conceptualisation of land share as never been considered as a Mohawk concept, it was suggested by the Indian agent then responsible as observed in a newspaper article from La Presse, 16 September 1905, which exposed:[8] "At the last council meeting of the tribe, also attended by representatives from each of the Oka tribes and Gibson, Muskoka, Ont., To find a way to share the Doncaster Reserve, containing an area of 18,000 acres, located in the county of Terrebonne. This reservation was granted 50 years ago, to the Iroquois of Oka and Caughnawaga, and since the revenues were split between the two tribes per capita. Our people ask sharing the reserve the same way; the Okas, who are only a quarter, ask for equal sharing and not per capita. The Caughnawagas number 2,100 souls. This issue has been under consideration since twelve months."

The notion of Kahnawake having sole ownership came from this administrative arrangement which was agreed to at some point: that, based on population and budgetary considerations, Kahnawake would have 2/3 of the financial responsibility and Kanesatake 1/3. Though, from all previous ministerial correspondences, it was always exposed that Doncaster’s Indian reserve was managed by both communities. Though, this practice of land management through a "per quota" (per capita) distribution is not coming from any aboriginal customs, so therefore it was managed by governmental administrator ignoring the Mohawk's ancestral customary land sharing practices.

It remained an administrative puzzle until 2018-19 and it is still unsettled through the current administrative management of the ministerial department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.[9]



  • Population in 2006: n/a
  • Population in 2001: n/a
  • Population in 1996: 0
  • Population in 1991: 4


  1. "Doncaster". Répertoire des municipalités (in French). Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire. Archived from the original on 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
  2. "Doncaster, Quebec (Code 2478802) census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
  3. Government of Canada - Aboriginal Communities - DONCASTER 17 Archived December 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Doncaster (Réserve indienne)" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  5. Natural Resources Canada - Legal Surveys Division, Historical Review - Doncaster Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. Pouliot-Thisdale, Eric, Archives and history of Tiowero:ton, Chapter 1: Creations of Reserves in Lower Canada 1853, Library and Archives Canada, 2018, 552 pages, pp. 11, , retrieved 25 April 2019
  7. Pouliot-Thisdale, Eric, Archives and history of Tiowero:ton, Chapter 4: Unsuccessful attempt to buy the Doncaster reserve and settlement with the squatters 1897-1905 Library and Archives Canada, 2018, 552 pages, pp. 227, , retrieved 25 April 2019
  8. La Presse, 16 September 1905, "Caughnawaga", page 25, Pouliot-Thisdale, Eric, Library and National archives of Quebec, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales of Québec,, retrieved 25 April 2019
  9. Pouliot-Thisdale, Eric, Archives and history of Tiowero:ton, Library and Archives Canada, 2018, 552 pages, pp. 4, , retrieved 25 April 2019
  10. Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census
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