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?


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?


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


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.