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This is a court transcript of Dr. Preston being qualified as expert witness.
RICHARD JOSEPH PRESTON - (not certified - not proofed)
Wed., Oct. 12, 2011
EXAMINATION-IN-CHIEF BY MS. VELLA
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.