Preston at McMaster, “Cree Spirituality & Cree Science: A Necessary Unity”

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Event Details


A FREE PUBLIC LECTURE. It is a commonplace claim that Native people have an earth-based spirituality. Perhaps this is true, but in any event it fits the folks I have been sojourning with, and thinking, and writing about for the past 50 years. In the past decade to two I have been increasingly aware of a different label for this: TEK, an acronym for Traditional Environmental (or Ecological) Knowledge. A long-time friend and co-researcher published a book that best introduces TEK, titled Sacred Ecology. And a year or two ago I was advising a working group of Ontario Power Generation professionals who are now required by the Environmental Impact Approval to give TEK equal respect with the normal “western” science they are trained to use. I used the book as a guide and urged them to read it. The title word “Sacred” may have put them off, so I explained that they were not expected to leave their labs for a Native church somewhere. I explained that Sacred meant that the Crees believed that the earth was literally (as well as symbolically) THE GROUND OF OUR BEING.

SPEAKER: Richard “Dick” Preston has a Ph.D. from U. of North Carolina. He commenced teaching at McMaster in 1971, and is now Professor Emeritus of Anthropology. For 12 years he was also Director, Research Program for Technology Assessment in Subarctic Ontario. His sojourns in the James Bay Regions have occupied portions of 25 years, part of his 50 year focus on Cree culture and spirituality. He is a Quaker.

LOCATION: University Club – lower dining room (Alumni Memorial Building), McMaster University (Please note: the 4:15 start allows for reduced campus parking rates commencing at 4:00.)

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Sponsored by the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation and the Hamilton Area Science & Religion Forum. Made possible by a grant from the Metanexus Institute.

For more information, contact: Dr. Donald McNally, CSCA Executive Director, 905.570.3006 or Dr. Michael D. Fallon, Christian Reformed Campus Ministry, 905.525.9140 x24123.