Ravens are a daily experience for many of us who live, play, and work in Montana. In this presentation, we will consider how these birds provide a way for us to think about and connect with nature. From the Old Testament to the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, ravens have much to teach us. In Western Civilization, cultural accounts of ravens were often decidedly negative, perhaps from the observations of ravens scavenging human corpses after battles. In contrast, indigenous cultures characterize ravens as powerful mythological beings as well as practical helpmates for hunters. Scientists point out the complex nature of raven communication as well as the raven’s coevolution with wolves. The term “wolf-bird” has been derived from the observed interactions of ravens with wolves, including leading wolves to prey and scavenging prey killed by wolves.
Our speaker, Pat Munday, PhD, is Professor of Science & Technology Studies at Montana Tech University. His current research includes the relationship between humans and nature. His service includes major grants for environmental stream restoration, a popular book about the Big Hole River and presidency of Butte’s Mai Wah Society. He is a year-round outdoorsman, enjoying cross country skiing, trout fishing, backpacking, and elk hunting. Observing ravens during his outdoor adventures in the Montana mountains Munday has noted, “Raven joy is as apparent as a playful dog’s joy.”