Author Archives: Daniel Rueck

About Daniel Rueck

Historian of Indigenous Lands and Colonialism | Faculty Lecturer, McGill University

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.

Mainstream media observe Tyendinaga land defenders, Feb 16, 2020. Photo by Daniel Rück


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 juridique ?

Horaire | Schedule

9:30 – 9:45 Daniel Rück, professor

“Who cares about Indigenous law? The settler-colonial nation state cares.”

9:45 – 10:00 Abarna Selvarajah, Karina Juma, and Eliza Meeson, Undergraduate students

“Displaced Tamils: the legal construction of state security, terrorism, and its implications FOR refuge-seekers from Sri Lanka”

10:00 – 10:15 Discussion

10:15 – 10:30 Mathieu Laflamme, candidat au doctorat

« Entrer dans la chambre à coucher par les archives judiciaires »

10:30 – 10:45 Sylvie Perrier, professeure

« La profondeur historique dans les débats légaux contemporains sur la reproduction humaine »

10:45 – 11:00 Amélie Marineau-Pelletier, candidate au doctorat

« La lettre missive comme document judiciaire ? Conflits et fabrique du lien social en Lorraine au XVe siècle »

11:00 – 11:25 Discussion

Pièce | Room DMS 9161

Jeudi 13 février 2020 | Thursday, 13 February, 2020

Reclaiming Indigenous Place Names

After many decades of settlers installing new place names for Indigenous places, and attempting to erase Indigenous presences, things are starting to turn around. In this policy brief, Christina Gray and I consider the history, some current projects, and give recommendations for how governments can support Indigenous initiatives: Reclaiming Indigenous Place Names

An excerpt from a regional map published by the Eeyou of Eeyou Istchee in 2017. Shaded sections represent areas flooded for due to hydro-electric development. The map thus visually distinguishes natural and artificial waterways in a way that maintains historical memory of the land.

“The Eighth Stage of Genocide”

After the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report, most responses from the mainstream Canadian media involved a rejection of the commission’s deliberate centering of the concept of genocides against Indigenous people. Dr. Valerie Deacon and I wrote a response about patterns in global genocide denial:

The Eighth Stage of GenocideActive History, July 4, 2019. (co-written with Valerie Deacon)

Review of “The Clay We Are Made Of” by Susan Hill

Susan Hill’s “The Clay We Are Made Of” is an important new book on the history of land and Indigenous relations with land at Six Nations of the Grand River. Here’s my short online review aimed at an environmental history audience.

A longer review can be found behind a paywall here: Review of the book: Hill, Susan M. The Clay We Are Made Of: Haudenosaunee land tenure on the Grand River. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2017. In The Canadian Historical Review, Vol 100, No 1, March 2019, pp. 103-105

Two New Research Grants

I am happy to announce that two of my current research projects have received funding and are now well under way. The first is a SSHRC-funded project (with Brian Gettler of U of T and Maxime Gohier of UQAR) to make Indian Affairs documents from 1860 to 1873 searchable and available for the first time, and to thus open up new understandings of Indigenous-Canadian relations at the time of Confederation. The second is a a project titled “Stakeholders: Land Surveyors in the Global Settler Colonial Project” which closely examines the work of land surveyors in settler colonies around the world. This project has been funded by a seed grant from the uOttawa Faculty of Arts.

For are more detailed summary, check out the below text from the (now deleted) news section of the Institute for Canadian and Aboriginal Studies website in French and English.

camp-of-otto-j-klotz-summit-of-rockies-1886-nacCamp of Otto J. Klotz, Summit of Rockies, 1886 (LAC)


Daniel Rück, un professeur de l’IÉAC, obtient des bourses de recherches

Daniel Rück, un professeur de l’Institut des études autochtones et canadiennes, avec Brian Gettler de l’Université de Toronto (le chercheur principal) et Maxime Gohier de l’Université du Québec à Rimouski, a récemment reçu une subvention de développement Savoir par le Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines (CRSH). Le projet, intitulé « Indian Affairs and Confederation, 1860-1876 » vise à stimuler un débat sur l’histoire de la formation de l’État canadien par une réévaluation de la position du ministère des Affaires indiennes au sein de l’état dans une période changements institutionnels et politiques. Pour la première fois, ce projet dégagera une partie critique des documents d’archives du ministère des Affaires indiennes à des fins d’analyse. De 1862 à 1872, le ministère des Affaires indiennes a utilisé un système particulier pour l’organisation de ses archives qui est incompréhensible par la plupart des chercheurs aujourd’hui. Puisque les chercheurs ont été incapables de trouver leur chemin dans cette masse de documents (environ 40 000 pages), aucune analyse sur le rôle du ministère des Affaires indiennes de la Confédération n’a été entreprise jusqu’à présent. Ce projet d’histoire numérique rendra ces documents accessibles pour la première fois, et ouvrira de nouvelles connaissances sur les relations autochtones canadiennes au moment de la Confédération.

Rück a également reçu une subvention de démarrage par la Faculté des Arts de l’université d’Ottawa pour un projet intitulé « Stakeholders: Land Surveyors in the Global Settler Colonial Project ». Ceci est un projet numérique de l’histoire qui vise à approfondir notre compréhension de la création de colonies du peuple européen, dont le Canada, de 1750 à 1950. Le projet examine de près la vie et le travail des arpenteurs-géomètres, transcrivant leurs textes, et la visualisant leur vie et leur travail en utilisant des outils numériques. Comme les soldats et les policiers, les arpenteurs-géomètres étaient parmi les « troupes de choc » pour l’expansion des colonies et des États, et ont été la clé de la transformation radicale des terres autochtones en propriété privée disponible pour (la plupart) des hommes blancs. Les parties prenantes cherchent à créer un site Web qui permettra aux chercheurs du monde entier à télécharger, partager et analyser les données produites par les topographes qui utilisent le SIG (système d’information géographique) et des outils logiciels Omeka. Lui et son équipe de chercheurs sont actuellement dans la première phase de ce projet, comprenant la transcription, le codage et la visualisation des travaux de l’arpenteur-géomètre canadien Otto J. Klotz.

Rück est reconnaissant pour l’espace offerts par l’Institut des études canadiennes et autochtones qui lui ont permis de mettre en place un laboratoire de recherche de travail qui offrira un endroit pour les chercheurs qui travailleront sur les deux projets.


Daniel Rück’s Research Wins Awards

Professor Daniel Rück, along with colleagues Brian Gettler (principal investigator, University of Toronto) and Maxime Gohier (Université du Québec à Rimouski), was recently awarded an Insight Development Grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSRHC). The project is titled “Indian Affairs and Confederation, 1860-1876” and aims to spur debate on the history of Canadian state formation through a reassessment of Indian Affairs’ position within the state at a time of sweeping institutional and political change. This project will open a critical portion of the Department of Indian Affairs archival record to analysis for the first time. From 1862 to 1872 Indian Affairs used an idiosyncratic system for organizing its archives that is not understood by most researchers today. Since scholars have been unable to find their way through this mass of documentation (on the order of 40,000 pages), no analysis of Indian Affairs’ role in Confederation has been undertaken until now. This digital history project will make these documents searchable and available for the first time, and will open up new understandings of Indigenous-Canadian relations at the time of Confederation.

Rück has also been awarded a seed grant by the uOttawa Faculty of Arts for a project titled “Stakeholders: Land Surveyors in the Global Settler Colonial Project.” This is a digital history project that aims to further our understanding of the establishment of European settler colonies, including Canada, from 1750 to 1950. The project closely examines the lives and work of land surveyors, transcribing their texts, and visualizing their lives and work using digital tools. Like soldiers and policemen, land surveyors were among the ‘shock troops’ of expanding settler colonies and states, and were key to the radical transformation of Indigenous lands into private property available for (mostly) white men. Stakeholders seeks to create of a website that will allow researchers around the world to upload, share, and analyse data produced by surveyors using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and Omeka software tools. He and his team of researchers are currently in the first phase of this project, involving the transcription, coding, and visualization of the work of the Canadian land surveyor Otto J. Klotz.

Rück is grateful for space offered by the Institute for Canadian and Aboriginal Studies that has allowed him to set up a working research lab that will provide space for researchers working on both projects.