The Indigenous History Book Prize
Helen Olsen Agger, Dadibaajim : Returning Home through Narrative. University of Manitoba Press.
Helen Olsen Agger’s Dadibaajim reclaims and re-centres dadibaajim, or oral narratives, about the Namegosibii Anishinaabeg Trout Lake homelands in what is today known as northwestern Ontario, Treaty 3 territory. In grounding her work in critical Anishinaabe methodology, specifically her extensive use of Anishinaabemowin, Agger offers an insightful study of the ways in which the Namegosibii Anishinaabeg navigated intrusions of colonialism and capitalism in the 19th and 20th centuries. In focusing specifically on dadibaajim narratives, Agger is able to fill in silences and omissions of the colonial record, and the book provides a very valuable self-description by Namegosibii Anishinaabeg that contributes to historical memory. Dadibaajim skillfully weaves together oral history, examination of historical documents, and language to help readers understand the care, use, and occupation of the Namegosibii Anishinaabeg’s Trout Lake homelands.
Daniel Rück, The Laws and the Land: The Settler Colonial Invasion of Kahnawake in Nineteenth-Century Canada. UBC Press.
In Laws and the Land, Daniel Rück focuses on the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) community of Kahnawà:ke, just south of Montreal, examining Indigenous relationships with the land and Settler intrusion across a broad arc that stretches from the seventeenth century to the start of the twentieth. The book distinguishes itself by its twinned engagement with legal and environmental history. This approach proves extremely fertile, making visible the processes of colonization, slow and uncoordinated, paradoxically “weak” yet inexorably oppressive. Rück grounds himself in extensive archival research, innovative cartographic efforts, and a thorough commitment to the current-day people of Kahnawà:ke. He is mindful of the interplay of individual and collective experiences, and attentive to how the local relates to the national and beyond, to the global context of settler colonialism.