LE GRAND RETOUR – French edition translated by Daniel Poliquin published by Les Éditions Boréal

Published in English in 2014 by Penguin Random House
Published in French in 2015 by Les Éditions Boréal


WHEN IT COMES TO ABORIGINAL PEOPLES, SYMPATHY FROM OUTSIDERS IS THE NEW FORM OF RACISM. It allows many of us to feel good about discounting their importance and the richness of their civilizations.


Sympathy is a way to deny our shared reality. Our shared responsibility. Sympathy obscures the central importance of rights.


If not sympathy, then what? In September 2013, in the Columbia River Basin, I listened to Kathryn Teneese, chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council, explain that the first step is “recognition and acknowledgment.” Then we can work at our relationship “one step at a time – and gradually – find things we can do together.” In other words, “reconciliation” is not an event. It is not an apology, although an apology was necessary. And it is certainly not something so lacking in respect and dignity as sympathy. In any case, no solid relationship is possible so long as the Canadian government continues to rise in courtrooms and begin cases against the rights of Aboriginal nations by first arguing before the law that they do not exist as a people. This is our government. What could sympathy possibly mean if it is preceded by a denial of existence…. On the prairies there is an important piece of formal rhetoric: a question and an answer widely used in public meetings in order to remind everyone present of the reality in which they live.


“Who are the treaty people?”


“We are the treaty people.”

—from The Comeback


Daniel Francis – Geist Magazine

“In Greek mythology, Cassandra is blessed with the gift of prophecy, then cursed by never having her predictions believed. I thought of Cassandra as I read John Ralston Saul’s latest book of prophecy, The Comeback: How Aboriginals Are Reclaiming Power and Influence (Penguin Group Canada)”Geist Magazine. June 19th, 2015.
Jonathon Potskin – Muskrat Magazine

“The Comeback is a book that every Canadian should read. The book can assist in creating dialogue between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians within a context that is clear and creates a happy medium for all Canadians to start the dialogue our government is ignoring. This seems to be John Ralston Saul’s guide to creating reconciliation in this Canada.” Book Review. Jonathon Potskin. Muskrat Magazine. November 27th, 2014
Robert Collison – Toronto Star

“His book also demonstrates that the First Nations have acquired a powerful new ally: the courts. Time after time, Saul shows, the Supreme Court and lower courts have sided with the First Nations when our governments have litigated against claims that their treaty rights have been abused, or ignored, or abrogated almost since the royal imprimatur was first attached.” Book Review. Robert Collison. The Toronto Star. November 21st, 2014
Alexandra Shimo – The National Post

“John Ralston Saul’s latest book, The Comeback, surges across the past two thousand years of history with scholastic ease, re framing some of the current Aboriginal debates through an inspired lens.” Book Review. Alexandra Shimo. The National Post. November 17th, 2014.
Book Review – Quill & Quire.

“He (John Ralston Saul) urges readers to create a new national narrative “built upon the centrality of the Aboriginal peoples’ past, present, and future,” and goes on to show how the first step is respecting the spirit of the treaties on which this country is built.” Book Review. Quill & Quire. November 2014
Kyle Carsten Wyatt – The Walrus.

“Every Canadian should read The Comeback to better understand how voter complacency and emotions has enabled successive governments to prop up the colonial system since confederation, by dishonouring treaty obligations and circumventing court decisions that have repeatedly affirmed aboriginal rights and title.” Review. Kyle Carsten Wyatt. The Walrus. December 2014
Michael Dudley – The Winnipeg Free Press

“Saul portrays a nation deliberately scorning self-knowledge by treating the aspirations of indigenous peoples with obstructionism and neglect.” Book review. Michael Dudley. The Winnipeg Free Press. November 8th, 2014


Rosanna Deerchild – CBC Unreserved Radio

“John Ralston Saul is an award-winning essayist, novelist and philosopher, but at the height of Idle No More, he was compelled to lend his pen to the issues affecting Indigenous Peoples, creating The Comeback. In other words, he decided to act..” Radio Interview. Rosanna Deerchild. CBC Unreserved. February 7th, 2016
Cheryl McKenzie – APTN InFocus

“Saul also argues that after Aboriginal peoples went from zero lawyers to two-thousand today, “as the Chiefs will tell you, since [the Canadian government] decided they were going to fight us tooth and nail in the courts on the treaties, we had to have lawyers. We could have had doctors. It was the government of Canada that forced us to have lawyers.” Interview. Cheryl McKenzie. APTN InFocus. November 27th, 2014
Monocle radio – November 12th, 2014.

“We hear from John Ralston Saul on his new book The Comeback.” Radio interview. Monocle radio. November 12th, 2014.
Joe Friesen – The Globe and Mail

“The Comeback is short and clear – about 180 pages by Mr. Saul and 80 more of appended texts – meant to be read in an afternoon. The writing is interspersed with photos that buttress his argument, including those of several members of a new indigenous intelligentsia that emerged in the public discussion around Idle No More…” Interview. Joe Friesen. The Globe & Mail. October 31st, 2014
Mark Burgess – The Hills Times.

“John Ralston Saul speaks to The Hill Times reporter Mark Burges about The Comeback: The Aboriginal issue is the biggest unresolved, fundamental issue in Canada.” Interview. The Hill Times. March 2015
Jeremy Runnalls – Corporate Knights.

“Author John Ralston Saul tells Corporate Knights why he was inspired to write a book on Canada’s aboriginal renaissance.”The (dis)honour of the crown.”” Interview. Corporate Knights. January 2015
Michael Shulman – CTV News Interview

“Saul portrays a nation deliberately scorning self-knowledge by treating the aspirations of indigenous peoples with obstructionism and neglect.”CTV News interview – John Ralston Saul: “Sympathy for aboriginal issues is not enough”
Catherine Perrin – Ici Radio-Canada

“Après être passée de 2 millions à 175 000 personnes de 1600 à 1900, la population autochtone canadienne a repris du poil de la bête avec des chiffres avoisinant ceux d’avant la conquête. Selon John Saul, le mouvement Jamais plus l’inaction est le prolongement d’une mouvance mise en place avant 1920. À travers ce mouvement, on voit les Premières Nations se réapproprier les domaines du droit et du commerce avec une énergie rappelant celle de la Révolution tranquille québécoise.”Radio Interview – Ici Radio-Canada
Alex Paul – Winnipeg Free Press

“Cherished concepts that define the country such as peace, order and good government? They don’t come from the Magna Carta. They are rooted in indigenous concepts.”Winnipeg Free Press
Marie-Louise Arsenault – Plus on est de fous, plus on lit!

“J’ai su que j’étais écrivain lorsque j’ai choisi le livre, plutôt que la femme. » Le romancier et essayiste canadien John Ralston Saul est président du PEN international depuis 2009, une association mondiale d’écrivains promouvant la littérature et la liberté d’expression qui tiendra son 81e congrès à Québec du 13 au 16 octobre 2015. L’auteur de Mon pays métis et des Réflexions d’un frère siamois a accepté de répondre à notre questionnaire”Radio Interview – Plus on est de fous, plus on lit!
Arnaud Decroix – Ici Radio-Canada

“Ils étaient 150 000 au début du XXe siècle, voués à une assimilation qui apparaissait certaine. Ils sont aujourd’hui plus d’un million au Canada et n’hésitent plus à s’affirmer. L’essayiste John Saul nous parle de ce réveil autochtone à l’occasion de la parution en français de son livre Le grand retour.”Radio Interview – Ici Radio-Canada


Michael Shulman – CTV National News

“John Ralston Saul: Sympathy for Aboriginal Peoples is not enough.”National News
Haroon Siddiqui – Toronto Star

“Saul calls the book a pamphlet, at 180 pages an afternoon read. Yet he pricks your conscience so much that you pause often and think long and hard about how we, as citizens, are complicit in Ottawa’s still colonial behaviour towards our indigenous peoples.” Column. Haroon Siddiqui. The Toronto Star. November 29th, 2014
Jim Coyle – The Toronto Star

“If the biggest favour one human being can do another is to speak the truth, especially when that truth is uncomfortable to hear, then Canadians probably owe John Ralston Saul a collective nod of thanks.”Article. Jim Coyle. The Toronto Star. October 26th, 2014
Lawrence Martin – The Globe and Mail

“He [John Ralston Saul] has written a powerful treatise that provides a fresh way to look at Canadian history. It’s important that native peoples have a writer of his heft in their corner.” Column. Lawrence Martin. The Globe & Mail. November 25th, 2014
Bob Rae – The Globe and Mail

“John Ralston Saul has reminded us again in his book The Comeback of a period of imperialist, racialized thought.”Op-Ed. Hon. Bob Rae. The Globe & Mail. November 14th, 2014
JRS Book Tour Poster 2014 – Globe & Mail

“Saul portrays a nation deliberately scorning self-knowledge by treating the aspirations of indigenous peoples with obstructionism and neglect.”The Comeback national book tour Globe & Mail poster with city stops
Nelly Gonzalez – CBC News

“The controversy started when another teacher posted an article on her Facebook page about John Ralston Saul’s book, The Comeback, which contends that repairing the relationship between First Nations peoples and the rest of Canada is a pressing issue.”CBC News. December 11th, 2014.
Nick Martin – Winnipeg Free Press

“I’m a great admirer of public school teachers. They [teachers] have a very important role in society; in many ways, they’re the most important leaders in society. They have more influence than most politicians.”Click here to read Nick Martin’s article “Author Saul stresses influence teachers have on society.” The Winnipeg Free Press. December 15th, 2014.
Mathieu Perreault – La Presse

“Il fait partie d’une série de livres sur la mythologie de la narration, ce que c’est que de vivre ici. Notre plus grand problème, c’est que nous avons toujours la narration mise en place dans la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle, la culture impériale sortie de l’Europe. En réalité, pendant les 250 premières années du pays, nous avons été plus influencés par les autochtones que par l’Europe”La Presse. October 8, 2015
Caroline Montpetit – Le Devoir

“Cette attitude, encore pérenne aujourd’hui, ajoute-t-il, a justifié non seulement la politique des pensionnats mais toutes les politiques autochtones fédérales qui ont suivi. Quant à la pitié, c’est « l’habit neuf du racisme », écrit-il.”Le Devoir. October 7, 2015.
John Ralston Saul – The Globe and Mail

“There are good and bad things in our society, successes and failures. But there is only one fundamental reality that remains unaddressed. That is the situation of indigenous peoples.”The Globe and Mail. June 5, 2015