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District of Keewatin

district of keewatin
The District of Keewatin was a territory of Canada and later an administrative district of the Northwest Territories It was created in 1876 by the Keewatin Act, and originally it covered a large area west of Hudson Bay In 1905, it became a part of the Northwest Territories and in 1912, its southern parts were adjoined to the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, leaving the remainder, now called the Keewatin Region, virtually uninhabited On April 1, 1999, the Keewatin Region was formally dissolved, as Nunavut was created from eastern parts of the Northwest Territories, including all of Keewatin

The name "Keewatin" comes from Algonquian roots—either kīwēhtin ᑮᐍᐦᑎᐣ in Cree or giiwedin ᑮᐌᑎᓐ in Ojibwe—both of which mean north wind in their respective languages In Inuktitut, it was called Kivalliq ᑭᕙᓪᓕᖅ—a name which persists as the Kivalliq Region in Nunavut


  • 1 History as a territory 1876–1905
    • 11 District of Keewatin government
    • 12 Prohibition
    • 13 Law enforcement
  • 2 History 1905–1999
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 Further reading

History as a territory 1876–1905

The District of Keewatin was created by the passage of the Keewatin Act on October 7, 1876 from a portion of Canada's Northwest Territories The district ceased being an independent territory in 1905 and was returned to the Northwest Territories At the time of its abolition, it covered 228,160 square miles 590,932 km²—roughly the size of Saskatchewan At its establishment in 1876, it encompassed the bulk of what is now Manitoba and northwestern Ontario and southern Nunavut Its territory had been reduced over the years as areas were added to the two provinces

The federal government created the District of Keewatin on the advice of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Morris Morris convinced the government that the new territorial government of the Northwest Territories would be unable to effectively administer land to the north and east of Manitoba

Morris was advised of the need for a new territory by James McKay Morris approved of the idea and began conferring with McKay to determine a proper Aboriginal name for the territory McKay decided upon Keewatin, which comes from the Cree and Saulteaux languages and means the land of the north wind The government decided to use an Aboriginal name because they wanted to be sensitive towards Natives who formed the largest demographic and respect their cultural identity

District of Keewatin government

The District of Keewatin was run by an appointed council The legislative branch of the government was a unicameral body, known as the Council of Keewatin The council contained six members, all of whom were appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor Political parties did not exist in the council

The executive branch of the territory was run by the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba who also doubled as the Lieutenant-Governor of the District of Keewatin The seat of government for the district was in Winnipeg, Manitoba

The District of Keewatin did not have any representation in the Canadian House of Commons or the Canadian Senate


Upon creation of the District of Keewatin, the Government of Canada decreed that intoxicants such as alcohol were forbidden to be imported into the territory The government made this decision in regards to active law enforcement to curb the whisky trade running rampant in the Northwest Territories Laws had been passed two years earlier by the Council of the Northwest Territories to enforce prohibition in that territory

Law enforcement

The territorial laws created by the Council of Keewatin were enforced by the North-West Mounted Police

The judicial system in the territory consisted of a combined court system of stipendiary magistrates who were appointed to the Council of the Northwest Territories and court proceedings taking place in the courts of Manitoba

History 1905–1999

On September 1, 1905, the District of Keewatin became one of four districts in the Northwest Territories, the other three being the District of Ungava, the District of Mackenzie, and the District of Franklin Keewatin covered the portion of the Northwest Territories north of Manitoba on the mainland, and western islands within Hudson and James Bays After 1920, the eastern islands in Hudson Bay and James Bay that had been part of the District of Ungava were transferred to Keewatin After the boundaries of Ontario and Manitoba were extended northward in 1912, Keewatin largely consisted of treeless lands in the Arctic Because of the harsh winters and lack of inland roads, settlement of the isolated district by whites was poor, and even the native Inuit population was sparse: in 1950, there were just 2,400 persons in the entire district

On April 1, 1999, the Keewatin Region was formally dissolved, as Nunavut was created from eastern parts of the Northwest Territories, including all of Keewatin However, as an administrative district of the Northwest Territories it had ceased to function several years prior to division

See also

  • Keewatin disambiguation


  1. ^ Nicholson, Normal L 1979 The Boundaries of the Canadian Confederation Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada Ltd p 113 
  2. ^ Victoria R, Proclamation, 7 October 1876, 1876 C Gaz, 458
  3. ^ a b c "Keewatin" The Daily Free Press December 1, 1876 p 1 
  4. ^ "Who Named the North-Land" Manitoba Free Press August 19, 1876 p 3 
  5. ^ "Keewatin" Manitoba Free Press April 1, 1876 p 1 
  6. ^ a b c "Prohibition" The Daily Free Press May 31, 1876 p 1 
  7. ^ "volume 39, number 8, 19 August 1905, page 1" A Nation's Chronicle: The Canada Gazette Library and Archives Canada Retrieved 9 January 2015 
  8. ^ Phillips, RAJ 1961 "Keewatin" World Book Encyclopedia 10 Chicago, IL: Field Enterprises p 208  |access-date= requires |url= help
  1. ^ Ontario Gen Web: District of Keewatin
  2. ^ History of Icelandic settlers in the west

Further reading

  • Allen, D Lynne, and Ted H Hogg Bird studies in the Keewatin District ESCOM report, no AI-27 Ottawa: Environmental-Social Program, Northern Pipelines, 1979
  • Aspler, Lawrence B Analysis of Gossans and Exploration Guides, Hawk Hill-Griffin-Mountain Lakes Area, District of Keewatin Yellowknife, NWT: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 1990
  • Gordon, T M Precambrian Geology of the Daly Bay Area, District of Keewatin : Energy, Mines and Resources Canada, 1988 ISBN 0-660-12613-3
  • Harrington, Richard, and Edmund Snow Carpenter Padlei Diary, 1950 An Account of the Padleimiut Eskimo in the Keewatin District West of Hudson Bay During the Early Months of 1950 : Rock Foundation, 2000
  • Heard, Douglas C, George W Calef, and Steve Cooper Numbers, Distribution, and Productivity of Caribou in Northeastern Keewatin District, Northwest Territories Yellowknife: NWT Fish and Wildlife Service, 1977
  • Heywood, W W, and B V Sanford Geology of Southampton, Coats, and Mansel Islands, District of Keewatin, Northwest Territories Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Geological Survey of Canada, 1976 ISBN 0-660-00756-8
  • Hillis, Tracy L The Demography and Ecology of the Tundra Wolf, Canis Lupis, in the Keewatin District, Northwest Territories Thesis MSc--Laurentian University, 1990, 1990 ISBN 0-315-64223-8
  • Kuo, Chun-Yan A Study of Income and Income Distribution in the Keewatin District of Northern Canada : Regional Planning Section, Policy and Planning ACND Division, Northern Policy and Program Planning Branch, Dept of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1974
  • Lee, Hulbert Austin Surficial Geology of Southern District of Keewatin And the Keewatin Ice Divide, Northwest Territories Ottawa: Queen's printer, 1959
  • Norris, A W Brachiopods from the Lower Shale Member of the Williams Island Formation Middle Devonian of the Hudson Platform, Northern Ontario and Southern District of Keewatin Ottawa: Geological Survey of Canada, 1993 ISBN 0-660-15164-2
  • Schau, Mikkel Geology of the Prince Albert Group in Parts of Walker Lake and Laughland Lake Map Areas, District of Keewatin : Geological Survey of Canada, 1982 ISBN 0-660-11143-8
  • Steenhoven, G van den Leadership and Law Among the Eskimos of the Keewatin District, Northwest Territories Rijswijk: Excelsior, 1962
  • Stewart, D B, and Lionel M J Bernier An Aquatic Resource Survey of Victoria and King William Islands and the Northeastern District of Keewatin, Northwest Territories : Supply and Services Canada, 1983 ISBN 0-662-13175-4
  • Taylor, Frederick C Precambrian Geology of the Half Way Hills Area, District of Keewatin Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Geological Survey of Canada, 1985 ISBN 0-660-11929-3
  • Wright, J V The Grant Lake Site, Keewatin District, NWT Ottawa: National Museums of Canada, 1976
  • Wright, J V The Aberdeen Site, Keewatin District, NWT Mercury series Ottawa: Archaeological Survey of Canada, National Museum of Man, National Museums of Canada, 1972
  • Zoltai, S C, and J D Johnson Vegetation-Soil Relationships in the Keewatin District Ottawa: Environmental-Social Program, Northern Pipelines, 1978

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