The Unjust Society
- List Price: $19.95
- Binding: Paperback
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
- Publish date: 12/01/2003
Aboriginal people in Canada took hope with the election of Pierre Trudeau's Liberals in 1968. They were outraged when the White Paper introduced by Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Jean Chretien a year later amounted to an assimilation program: the repeal of the Indian Act, the transfer of Indian affairs to the provinces, and the elimination of separate legal status for Native people.
The Unjust Society, Cree leader Harold Cardinal's stinging rebuttal, was an immediate best-seller, and it remains one of the most important books ever published in Canada.
Possessed of a wicked gift for satire, Cardinal summed up the government's approach as "The only good Indian is a non-Indian". He coined the term "buckskin curtain" to describe the barriers that indifference, ignorance, and bigotry had placed in the way of his people. He insisted on his right to remain "a red tile in the Canadian mosaic". Above all, he called for radical changes in policy on aboriginal rights, education, social programs, and economic development.
The Unjust Society heralded a profound change in the political landscape. Thirty years later, however, the buckskin curtain has still not disappeared. Canada's First Nations continue their fight for justice. And Harold Cardinal's vision is as compelling and powerful as ever.