About Me‎ > ‎

Court Qualifications

The formatting of this document was changed to make it easier to read as a web page.

This is a court transcript of Dr. Preston being qualified as expert witness.

RICHARD JOSEPH PRESTON - (not certified - not proofed)

Wed., Oct. 12, 2011


1                  Q.  Dr. Preston, I understand you live in

2   Ancaster, Ontario?

3                  A.  Yes.

4                  Q.  You are a professor emeritus of anthropology

5   at McMaster University?

6                  A.  Yes.

7                  Q.  You received your Master's of art in

8   anthropology with a minor in linguistics from the University of

9   North Carolina --

10                  A.  Yes.

11                  Q.  -- in 1964?

12                  A.  Yes.

13                  Q.  Thank you.

14                  You then received your Ph.D. in anthropology with

15   a minor in psychology from the University of North Carolina in

16   1971?

17                  A.  Yes.

18                  Q.  You held the position of Assistant Professor

19   of Anthropology at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania

20   from 1965 to 1971?

21                  A.  That sounds right.  I haven't got it in my

22   head.

23                  Q.  You then came to Canada and held the position

24   of Assistant Professor in Anthropology at McMaster University

25   from 1971 to '73?

26                  A.  Yes.  Again, I'm not positive about years

27   there.

28                  Q.  You rose through the ranks to Associate

29   Professor in 1973, full Professor in 1979, and Professor

30   Emeritus in 1996, all at the Department of Anthropology at

31   McMaster University?

32                  A.  Yes.

33                  THE COURT:  So you're a Tar Heel born and bred,

34   is that about it?

35                  THE WITNESS:  No, I went to the University of

36   North Carolina because I was living there at that time.  But I'm

37   not born and bred there.

38                  THE COURT:  All right.  But affiliation to the

39   Tar Heel school?

40                  THE WITNESS:  Yes.

41                  MS. VELLA::

42                  Q.  You also held the position of Distinguished

43   Visiting Professor in Anthropology at Menno Simmons College in

44   Winnipeg in 1997?

45                  A.  It's Simons, yes.

46                  Q.  Simons.  Thank you.

47                  And I understand that you were awarded the

48   Weaver-Tremblay award for exceptional contributions to Canadian

49   applied anthropology from the Canadian Anthropology Society in

50   2006?

51                  A.  Yes.

52                  Q.  What does this award, briefly, what did this

53   award recognize in terms of your contribution?

54                  A.  A fairly long series of the uses of

55   anthropology for some practical purpose.

56                  Q.  And did that involve, for example, work in

57   relation to the Hydro development project at the Moose River

58   basin?

59                  A.  Yes.

60                  Q.  And some work in the Moose Cree area?

61                  A.  They're the same.

62                  Q.  Okay.  That's good.

63                  Do you also assist with respect to developing an

64   economic development plan for the Attawapiskat First Nation Cree

65   community?

66                  A.  Yes.

67                  Q.  Did that work include a study of the

68   Mishkegowuk region?

69                  A.  It's Mushkegowuk.  M-U-S-H.

70                  Q.  M-U-S-H-K-E-G-O-W-U-K.

71                  THE COURT:  Hold on a second.  A little more

72   slowly.  M-U-S-H-K-E --

73                  MS. VELLA:  G-O-W-U-K.

74                  Q.  And was this in relation to the study, the

75   amount of food obtained by traditional practices as compared

76   with store-bought food and the role that played in the First

77   Nation's diet?

78                  A.  That's almost it.  The Mushkegowuk region

79   extends up into the -- most of the Hudson's Bay.  And we were

80   looking at the value of traditional pursuits in the light of the

81   economy of that area as of 1979.  And I don't know whether you

82   want to know more about that or not, but --

83                  Q.  That's fine, thank you.

84                  A.  Okay.

85                  THE COURT:  Sorry, sir, you were looking at

86   traditional pursuits versus non-traditional?

87                  THE WITNESS:  We weren't doing a study of

88   non-traditional pursuits.  We were looking at the value of food

89   obtained, food and firewood obtained by the people of that

90   region over a period of a year.

91                  And I would just mention that we found that the

92   amount of protein that was produced by hunting was sufficient

93   for two times the minimum daily requirements of everybody in

94   that region, had it been distributed evenly, which it was not.

95                  MS. VELLA::

96                  Q.  I understand as part of the work for which

97   you were recognized also involved something called the Cree Way

98   Project in the 1970s?

99                  A.  Yes.

100                 Q.  Can you briefly explain that?

101                 A.  Yes.  This was an attempt on the part of the

102   school principal in the community of Waskagamish to develop what

103   he felt was more relevant curriculum materials for children

104   there, with the idea that the school should meet the children

105   where they are when they come to the school, which is to say in

106   Cree with familiarity with Cree culture as they have experienced

107   it in their earlier years and taught in a style which was

108   comfortable and useful for children of that age.  That project

109   is still going on.

110                  THE COURT:  And where was it done, sir?

111                  THE WITNESS:  Waskagamish, W-A-S-K-A-G-A-M-I-S-H.

112                  THE COURT:  You have to speak a little more

113   slowly, if you don't mind, Doctor, so I can catch it all.

114                  THE WITNESS:  Sure.

115                  THE COURT:  And where might that be?

116                  THE WITNESS:  It is the first of the Cree

117   communities as you go across the boundary from Ontario to Quebec

118   into the Quebec side of James Bay.

119                  And the spelling again?

120                  THE COURT:  No, no, that's fine.

121                  THE WITNESS:  Okay.  It means little house in

122   Cree, because when the Hudson's Bay Company first set up shop in

123   1668, they only built a little house.

124                  MS. VELLA::

125                  Q.  Thank you, Professor.

126                  You have also held a number of distinguished

127   positions in your career aside from Professor, including, from

128   1974 to '76, the Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at

129   McMaster?

130                  A.  Yes.

131                  Q.  You served as president of the Canadian

132   Ethnology Society from 1975 to '76?

133                  A.  Yes.  That was the precursor of the Canadian

134   Anthropology Society.

135                  Q.  Which in turn is the governing society in

136   Canada for anthropologists?

137                  A.  It's the -- I don't know about governing, but

138   it is a representative society, yes.

139                  Q.  More of an association?

140                  A.  Yes.

141                  Q.  From 1973 to '82, you were Chairman of the

142   Presidential Committee on Northern Studies at McMaster?

143                  A.  Yes.

144                  Q.  And from 1982 to '96, you were the Director

145   of the Research Program for Technology Assessment in the -- in

146   Subarctic Ontario at McMaster; is that right?

147                  A.  Yes.

148                  Q.  And does the subarctic region include

149   northern Ontario and therefore the Lake St. Joseph region?

150                  A.  Yes.

151                  Q.  And briefly, what was the main objectives of

152   that program?

153                  A.  The main purpose was to do research, good

154   science, in advance of anticipated hydroelectric developments in

155   the Moose River basin and in that way to avoid mistakes and rush

156   work that was done on the Quebec side from the James Bay project

157   which began in 1971.

158                  Q.  Just so we're clear, where is the Moose Cree

159   Basin?

160                  A.  It's right at the bottom of James Bay and

161   extends down basically to the Height of Land.

162                  THE COURT:  To the where, sir?

163                  THE WITNESS:  The Height of Land, where the land

164   begins to slope towards the Arctic ocean rather than towards the

165   Great Lakes.

166                  THE COURT:  Do I have a map where you can show me

167   that?  Anything in our 163-plus exhibits?

168                  MS. VELLA:  No, these maps unfortunately are

169   confined to the Lake St. Joseph region.

170                  Q.  Where in relation to Lake St. Joseph would it

171   be if you use the map?  Does that help you at all?

172                  THE COURT:  No.

173                  THE WITNESS:  It's going to be east and south.

174   East I would guess 150 kilometres, but that's rough, and south

175   perhaps a hundred kilometres.

176                  THE COURT:  Does it -- let me just see if I've

177   got this.  This is the south portion of James Bay which runs

178   south down to the Robinson-Huron heights?

179                  THE WITNESS:  Yes.

180                  THE COURT:  That's about where it is.

181                  THE WITNESS:  Yes.

182                  THE COURT:  So that's what's called the Moose

183   Cree Basin?

184                  THE WITNESS:  That would be the Moose River basin

185   although the Moose River itself is only a short part of that.

186                  THE COURT:  So that would be from the Moose

187   Factory down?

188                  THE WITNESS:  Right, it would.

189                  MS. VELLA::

190                  Q.  You have been the rough -- you have been the

191   author of numerous peer-reviewed articles in anthropology?

192                  A.  Yes.

193                  Q.  You also have experience in fieldwork as an

194   anthropologist?

195                  A.  Yes.

196                  Q.  I understand you have conducted

197   anthropological field studies in several Cree First Nations in

198   the James Bay area?

199                  A.  Yes.

200                  Q.  Since as early as 1963 and as recent as 2005?

201                  A.  Yes.

202                  Q.  Including ethnographic studies of the James

203   Bay Cree First Nations in the '60s and '70s?

204                  A.  Yes.

205                  Q.  You have also acted as an education

206   consultant to various Cree organizations and councils?

207                  A.  Yes.

208                  Q.  Amongst your various services to professional

209   organizations, you were involved in the Hudson's Bay project

210   from 1993 to '94?

211                  A.  Yes.

212                  Q.  And what was the main purpose of that

213   project?

214                  A.  A substantial amount of it was to record

215   traditional environmental or traditional ecological knowledge.

216   And it covered a huge area, the drainage of the Hudson's Bay

217   area.  It was probably half of Canada.

218                  Q.  All right.  Did you focus in Ontario and

219   Quebec?

220                  A.  My participation was -- had that focus, yes.

221                  Q.  You were a member of the organizing committee

222   for the Canadian Ethnology Society in 1973?

223                  A.  Yes.

224                  Q.  Which you said is a precursor to the Canadian

225   Anthropology Society?

226                  A.  Yes.

227                  Q.  What is the main purpose of the Canadian

228   Anthropology Society?

229                  A.  The purpose is to have annual conferences.

230   It's the idea of a community of scholars sharing definitions of

231   problems and substantive results and also making representations

232   beyond the anthropology discipline itself.

233                  Q.  I understand you were qualified as an expert

234   witness by the Abitibi District Court in 1979?

235                  A.  Yes.

236                  Q.  And in what capacity?

237                  A.  I was giving expert witness testimony on the

238   difficulties faced by a young woman who was raised by a very

239   conservative family in the bush and in an arranged marriage

240   found herself in a frontier town and pregnant and was unable to

241   cope with that.  And she -- she killed her infant and was

242   charged with infanticide because they wanted her to plead not

243   guilty on the basis of insanity and she said no, I am guilty.

244   I'm not going to plead not guilty.  So they found the charge of

245   infanticide as a lesser crime.

246                  Q.  And what -- what was -- what assistance did

247   you attempt to bring to the court as an anthropologist in that

248   case?

249                  A.  I tried to explain what the change of context

250   meant and why having no one to offer her guidance and support as

251   a young mother, her husband was often out of town, he was a

252   Cree, still is, a Cree politician.  And she was not able to

253   persuade people at the hospital to offer that.  And then other

254   circumstances piled up and she...

255                  Q.  All right.  And she was also a First Nations

256   woman?

257                  A.  Oh, yes, yes, a Cree woman.

258                  Q.  And was the cultural context of her situation

259   something that you assisted the court with?

260                  A.  That's correct.

261                  Q.  You've taught many graduate courses at

262   McMaster, including contemporary anthropology, ideology in

263   northern cultures, method and theory of field research and

264   Canadian Indians today; is that right?

265                  A.  Correct.

266                  Q.  You've received numerous research grants over

267   the course of your tenure starting in approximately 1999, which

268   was -- or including -- excuse me, in 1999, a grant to digitize

269   oral tradition; is that right?

270                  A.  Yes.  That was from the Crees.

271                  Q.  And perhaps it's self-explanatory, but just

272   briefly what did that project involve?

273                  A.  I recorded narratives from Cree storytellers

274   over a period of years.  And because one of them in particular

275   was an extremely gifted story teller, it was regarded as

276   important to preserve that and make it available to younger

277   Crees both for language learning but also as the possible basis

278   for a written literature in Cree.

279                  Q.  And digitize means you put it on to tape?

280                  A.  It's on the web now, yes.

281                  Q.  On the web.

282                  A.  Taken from tapes and put on the web.

283                  Q.  And you receive a substantial grant of over

284   $223,000 to develop culturally appropriate economic strategies

285   for locally and regionally direct development for the

286   Mushkegowuk or Cree region of James Bay; is that right?

287                  A.  Yes.

288                  Q.  And is it fair to say that the Mushkegowuk

289   geographically are the neighbours of the Ojibway and Oji-Cree of

290   northern Ontario?

291                  A.  Yes.

292                  Q.  And you've authored and have had published

293   books, chapters, refereed academic journals in the non-refereed

294   papers in be the field of anthropology?

295                  A.  Yes.

296                  Q.  As well as you have been the author of

297   technical reports?

298                  A.  Yes.

299                  Q.  For example, in 2002, you authored the book

300   Cree Narrative expressing the Personal Meaning of Events,

301   published by McGill Queen's University Press?

302                  A.  Yes.

303                  Q.  You published a chapter in 2011 entitled "A

304   life in translation", published in Brian Swann's Translation of

305   Native American Literature/oral traditions?

306                  A.  Yes.

307                  Q.  In 2010 you published a chapter called "James

308   Bay Cree Respect Relations within the Great Community of

309   Persons"?

310                  A.  Yes.

311                  Q.  In 1980 you published the Witigo --

312                  A.  Witigo --

313                  Q.  W-I-T-I-G-O colon, Algonquian Knowledge and

314   Whiteman Knowledge in M. Halpin and M. Ames -- sorry; Manlike

315   Monsters on Trial:  Early Records and Modern Evidence?

316                  A.  Yes.

317                  Q.  You've authored several papers in refereed

318   journals including "Regina Flannery's collection of James Bay

319   Cree oral tradition".  In the -- at the 37th Algonquian

320   conference in 2006?

321                  A.  Yes.

322                  THE COURT:  Do you think I'm getting much too

323   much detail?

324                  MS. VELLA:  Thank you.

325                  THE COURT:  I think until such time as we get to

326   the nitty-gritty as to what he's going to testify to, at least

327   at the preliminary stage and whether his expertise is being

328   questioned, then I think we can take this information at about

329   3000 feet.  Can you skip through to it?

330                  MS. VELLA:  Yes.  Thank you.

331                  Q.  Then I'd like to show you JB04332.  It should

332   appear on your monitor there, Dr. Preston.

333                  A.  Yes.

334                  Q.  This appears to be a curriculum vitae for

335   Richard J. Preston.  Can you identify that please?

336                  A.  It is my CV.

337                  Q.  And it is reasonably up to date and is it

338   reasonably accurate?

339                  A.  It's reasonably up to date and reasonably

340   accurate, but it's possible that something fell through the

341   cracks.

342                  Q.  You mean an omission?

343                  A.  Sorry?

344                  Q.  You mean an omission?

345                  THE COURT:  Exhibit 164.


347   --- Ex. 164:  Curriculum vitae of Dr. R. Preston


349                  MS. VELLA:  I would like to tender Dr. Preston as

350   an expert in the general field of anthropology, with particular

351   expertise in the subfields of oral history, methods, and the

352   ethnology of cultural change, if it pleases the court.