Shortly after the discovery of the Leduc oil field in 1947, discoveries were made on the Stony Plain, Pigeon Lake and Stoney Indian reserves in Alberta. As a result of increasing oil and gas activity on Indian lands in western Canada, a minerals specialist was hired and located in Calgary in the mid 1950's. This was the beginning of the Indian Minerals unit, which was then responsible for all oil, gas and mineral rights on Indian reserves throughout Canada.
In the late 1970's, the minerals unit was split into the Indian Minerals (East) and Indian Minerals (West) Offices, which were responsible for hydrocarbon and mineral resources in eastern and western Canada, respectively. Following the recommendations of an All Chiefs Assembly, the Government of Canada established Indian Oil and Gas Canada in 1987 as a special business-oriented agency within Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).
In April 1993, IOGC was granted Special Operating Agency (SOA) status within INAC. An SOA is a discrete operational unit within government departments designed to promote client-focused service delivery.
Until the early 1990's, IOGC offices were found in the Senator Harry Hays Building in downtown Calgary. Since 1994, IOGC's offices have been located in the Chief Joseph Big Plume Administration Building on Tsuu T'ina Nation lands, adjacent to the City of Calgary.