Dr. Richard “Dick” Preston is Betty’s husband and father of five, step-father of two, grandfather of many, and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at McMaster University. He began research in James Bay Cree communities in 1963, and continues.
His book on Cree oral tradition, Cree Narrative: Expressing the Personal Meaning of Events has been in a second edition since 2002. Shorter pieces have come out at the comfortable rate of about 2 per year, so there are now over 100 in the list.
Dick's current work has been as part of a Moose Cree team writing a history titled People of the Moose River Basin, aimed for grade 6 students and anyone else we can interest in reading a non-academic, generously illustrated “people’s history” with first person accounts from Native and non-Native residents of the region.
His other work is on violence reduction and peace building, focussed on creating peace in families, communities, nations and the world - understanding peace in its broad context - a much more complex idea than just the absence of war.
Dick is a long time member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), past and founding chair of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative - Hamilton Branch, and is currently a Board member of the United Nations Association in Canada, Hamilton Branch where he is the sponsor of the Social Geography Project.
The Social Geography Project is jointly managed by Culture of Peace Hamilton and is an ongoing research project leading to a Hamilton Culture of Peace Commission. Dick sits on an advisory board to the city helping create Pathways to Peace, a different sort of celebration of the 200 years of peace since the end of the War of 1812, and was the guest speaker at the commemoration of Hiroshima Day at Hamilton City Hall in 2012. One of Dick’s most recent honours was to be named Hamilton’s World Citizen of the Year for 2011. He is currently refining an essay on the Mythology of Peace which is a must read for all those who wish a more just and peaceful world.
In Oct. 2011 Dick appeared in Ontario Superior court as an expert witness. Here is the portion of the transcript that explains why he can be considered as a expert witness is this case. Court Qualifications
In May 2006 Dick won the Weaver-Tremblay award for exceptional contributions to Canadian applied anthropology from the Canadian Anthropology Society. Here is his acceptance speech.
In May 2014 Dick was inducted as a founding fellow of the Canadian Anthropology Society.
In 1974 Dick was a consultant to the CBC, The Nature of Things, for the documentary The Cree of Paint Hills helping with filming, editing and the script.