As the settler state of Canada expanded into Indigenous lands, settlers dispossessed Indigenous people and undermined their sovereignty as nations. One site of invasion was Kahnawà:ke, a Kanien’kehá:ka community and part of the Rotinonhsiónni confederacy. The Laws and the Land delineates the establishment of a settler colonial relationship from early contact ways of sharing land; land practices under Kahnawà:ke law; the establishment of modern Kahnawà:ke in the context of French imperial claims; intensifying colonial invasions under British rule; and ultimately the Canadian invasion in the guise of the Indian Act, private property, and coercive pressure to assimilate. What Daniel Rück describes is an invasion spearheaded by bureaucrats, Indian agents, politicians, surveyors, and entrepreneurs. This original, meticulously researched book is deeply connected to larger issues of human relations with environments, communal and individual ways of relating to land, legal pluralism, historical racism and inequality, and Indigenous resurgence.
1 Kahnawà:ke and Canada: Relationships of Laws and Lands
2 “Whereas the Seigniory of Sault St. Louis Is the Property of the Iroquois Nation”: Dissidents, Property, and Power, 1790–1815
3 “Out of the beaten track”: Before the Railroad, 1815–50
4 “In What Legal Anarchy Will Questions of Property Soon Find Themselves”: The Era of Confederation, 1850–75
5 “The Consequences of This Promiscuous Ownership”: Wood and the Indian Act, 1867–1883
6 “Equal to an Ordnance Map of the Old Country”: The Walbank Survey, 1880–93
7 “It is Necessary to Follow the Custom of the Reserve Which is Contrary to Law”: Rupture and Continuity, 1885–1900
Notes; Bibliography; Index
Daniel Rück is an assistant professor in the Department of History and the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies at the University of Ottawa. He is a settler scholar living and working on the unceded territory of the Algonquin nation along the Kitchissippi (Ottawa River).
Daniel Rück presents a richly detailed and sophisticated history of land use rights and ownership on the Kahnawa:ke reserve over the course of a century. He is thoroughly impressive in his articulation of the many ways in which Indigenous and European laws are both at odds and, at times, complimentary.
~Bill Parenteau, University of New Brunswick, NiCHE
Indigenous History Book Prize, Canadian Historical Association
Best Book Prize, Canadian Studies Network