January 05, 2014
A NATIONAL ETHNIC GROUP
Cajuns were officially recognized by the U.S. government as a national ethnic group in 1980 per a discrimination lawsuit filed in federal district court. Presided over by Judge Edwin Hunter, the case, known as Roach v. Dresser Industries Valve and Instrument Division (494 F.Supp. 215, D.C. La., 1980), hinged on the issue of the Cajuns' ethnicity. Significantly, Judge Hunter held in his ruling that:"We conclude that plaintiff is protected by Title VII's ban on national origin discrimination.
The Louisiana Acadian (Cajun) is alive and well. He is “up front” and “main stream.” He is not asking for any special treatment. By affording coverage under the “national origin” clause of Title VII he is afforded no special privilege. He is given only the same protection as those with English, Spanish, French, Iranian, Czechoslavakian, Portuguese, Polish, Mexican, Italian, Irish, et al., ancestors."
The word "Cajun" is the anglicised pronunciation of Cadien (the truncated form of Acadian in French). There is some dispute over the origin of the term Acadia; some suggest that it came from the name of the ancient Greek region of Arcadia; others suggest that it is a derivation of the Mikmaq Indian word cadique, meaning "a good place to set up camp."