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Law Indigenous Peoples

The Laws and the Land

The Settler Colonial Invasion of Kahnawà:ke in Nineteenth-Century Canada

by (author) Daniel Rück

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Indigenous Peoples, Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, Indigenous Studies
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price

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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.

About the author


  • Winner, Best Book Prize, Canadian Studies Network
  • Winner, Indigenous History Book Prize, Canadian Historical Association

Contributor Notes

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).

Editorial Reviews

As someone who has been teaching Indigenous studies courses for almost a decade... I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Indigenous history of Canada... I have no doubt that it will become a regularly cited work, but it is also written in such a away that members of the general public should find it not only accessible, but also interesting.

Canadian Journal of History

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.