My name is Daniel Rück (Rueck) and I teach history of settler colonialism, Canadian-Indigenous relations, environmental history, and legal history in the Department of History and Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies at the University of Ottawa. My settler ancestors arrived in North America between 1860 and 1960 from the British Islands and Central Europe. I grew up in Austria, Hungary, and Western Canada.
My research concerns land tenure and land use on Indigenous territories, with a focus on Indigenous legal orders, and how empires and nation-states opposed and undermined them. In particular, I study the history of land, law, and colonialism in Kahnawà:ke, a Kanien’kehá:ka community near Montreal, part of the Rotinonhsión:ni (Haudenosaunee) confederacy. I work with archival sources such as historical survey data and maps, and use digital tools to visualize and analyze these data. My work contextualizes current legislative efforts to privatize reserve lands and to terminate Indigenous land rights within the larger history of Canadian and U.S. endeavors to break up Indigenous communities and lands, as well as Indigenous peoples’ own dedication to the maintenance, growth, and flourishing of their communities and lands. My first book, titled The Laws and the Land: The Settler Colonial Invasion of Kahnawà:ke in Nineteenth-Century Canada was released September 2021.
These are my current research projects:
- Continuing Projects with Kahnawà:ke
As part of my continuing community-engaged archival research I am writing articles on the history of citizenship and eviction, industry and business, and quarrying in 19th and 20th century Kahnawà:ke. I am also conducting research on the fraught history of the boundary line between Kahnawà:ke and Châteauguay.
- Settler Colonialism
A. Stakeholders Project: This ongoing project is to digitize and spatialize the notebooks and diaries of land surveyors in settler colonies. It was these surveyors who facilitated the taking of Indigenous lands for the benefit of mostly white men. The project, titled “Stakeholders: Land Surveyors in the Global Settler Colonial Project” has received seed funding from the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ottawa. The pilot project currently under way focuses on the nineteenth-century Dominion Lands Surveyor Otto J. Klotz as a way to understanding Canadian colonialism in the Prairie West. I have worked with Library and Archives Canada and uOttawa library to digitize his remarkable diary (about 10,000 pages covering 55 years from 1866 to 1921), and am working with students to transcribe them. I have three articles in preparation related to this project.
B. Projects on the history of The Indian Act and the Department of Indian Affairs: I am working an article on the history of settler colonial “Indian” policy in Canada and an ongoing research project to analyze the annual reports of the Department of Indian Affairs from 1864 to 1951. I was a partner in a project (with Brian Gettler of U of T and Maxime Gohier of UQAR) funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to make Department of Indian Affairs documents from 1860 to 1873 searchable and available, and to thus open up deeper understandings of Indigenous-Canadian relations at the time of Confederation.
- Kitchissippi History Projects
I live and work along the Kitchissippi (Ottawa River) and in the unceded lands of the Algonquin nation, and am working to develop my historical understanding and relationships with this place and its people. As such I am developing my capacity to teach the history of Algonquin-settler relations and the environmental history of the region.
- uOttawa Antiracism and Community-Building
I am part of a community of antiracist historians at the University of Ottawa who are together building a website providing antiracist historical and pedagogical resources. As part of a smaller working group of the Antiracist History Group, we received funding from the uOttawa Faculty of Arts in 2021 for a project entitled “Building Belonging through Antiracist Pedagogy: Workshop Collaboration for Knowledge Mobilisation and Advancement” which is organizing antiracist pedagogy workshops in French and English. This article (in English and French) by Meredith Terretta gives context for the group and the website.
Graduate students: I welcome inquiries by potential masters and doctoral students who are committed to ethical, accountable, reciprocal research on the following topics in English or French: settler colonialism, land surveying and colonial property formation, history of settler-Indigenous relations, Kitchissippi-Ottawa River history (for example, history of logging, dams, eels), environmental history, antiracist and anticolonial historical methodologies, history of race-shifting and ethnic fraud, history of “Indian” policy in Canada, history of the Department of Indian Affairs, treaties, and legal history.
Recent Blog Posts
I am co-founder and co-organizer of a community of historians at the University of Ottawa who oppose racism and stand in solidarity with racialized students, staff, and faculty. Part of our work so far has been to build a website providing antiracist historical and pedagogical resources, and we continue to add resources. It also includes…
New publication: The Settler Playbook: Understanding Responses to #ShutDownCanada in Historical Context
Sarah Rotz, Sean Carleton, and I co-wrote this Active History piece to point out specific harmful patterns in the way non-Natives respond to Indigenous sovereignty claims and actions. We also offer alternative ways settlers can respond to important Indigenous assertions like #WetsuwetenStong and #ShutDownCanada.
I’m presenting a short paper as part of our departmental Legal History Research Cluster event. Feel free to join us! Who cares about legal history ? | Qui se soucie de l’histoire…