Newfoundland och stammen Beotuk Från Wikipedia Karta över Newfoundland. Newfoundland

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Newfoundland och stammen Beotuk

Från Wikipedia

Karta över Newfoundland.

Newfoundland (franska Terre-Neuve, iriska Talamh an Éisc) är en ö i västra Atlanten, utanför Kanadas sydöstra kust. Ön hör till den kanadensiska provinsen Newfoundland och Labrador (tidigare kallad Newfoundland) och provinsens huvudstad St. John's ligger på ön. Klimatet är kyligt på grund av den kalla Labradorströmmen. Fisket är Newfoundlands basnäring men även skogsindustrin är omfattande. Newfoundlandshund och newfoundlandponny kommer härifrån.


Newfoundland skiljs från Labradorhalvön av Strait of Belle Isle och från Cape Breton Island i Nova Scotia av Cabot Strait. Ön ligger i Saint Lawrenceflodens mynning, och bildar därmed Gulf of Saint Lawrence som är världens största estuarium. Närmsta grannöar är ett antal småöar runt Newfoundlands huvudö och det franska utomeuropeiska förvaltningsområdet Saint-Pierre och Miquelon.

Med en area på 111 390 km² är Newfoundland världens 16:e största ö, och Kanadas fjärde största. Provinshuvudstaden St. John's ligger på öns sydöstra spets, precis söder om staden ligger Cape Spear, Nordamerikas östligaste plats. Tillsammans med de närliggande småöarna har Newfoundland en befolkning på 479 105 (2006).


Omkring år 1000 upptäckte den isländske sjöfararen Leif Eriksson nutida Newfoundland och kallade området för Vinland. Han var den förste europé att upptäcka Amerika, även om Christofer Columbus fått mer uppmärksamhet för sin upptäckt av denna (ur europeiskt perspektiv) "nya" kontinent 12 oktober 1492.

Beothuk people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Beothuk (pronounced /biːˈɒtɨk/ or /biːˈɒθɨk/) (also spelled Beothic, Beothick, Beothuck)[1] were the native inhabitants of the island of Newfoundland at the time of European contact in the 15th and 16th centuries. With the death in 1829 of Shanawdithit, a woman who was the last recorded surviving member, the people became officially extinct as a separate ethnic group.[2]

History and culture

Portrayal of a Beothuk camp by Major John Cartwright.

Beothuk means "people" in the Beothuk language. The origins of the Beothuk are uncertain. There are only limited records of their language, and theories about its origin are controversial. While some linguists believe it is a branch of Algonquian, it is generally regarded as a language isolate, with information too fragmentary and unreliable to make any definite connections to other languages.[3]

Beginning around AD 1500, the Beothuk culture formed. This appeared to be the most recent cultural manifestation of peoples who first migrated from Labrador to Newfoundland around AD 1. The ancestors of this group had three earlier cultural phases, each lasting approximately 500 years.[4]

In 2007 DNA testing was conducted on material from the teeth of Demasduit and her husband Nonosabasut, two Beothuk individuals who had died in the 1820s. The results suggest the Beothuk were linked to the same ancestral people as the Mi'kmaq, either through mixing of the populations or through a common ancestor. It also demonstrated they were solely of First Nation indigenous ancestry, unlike some earlier studies that suggested European admixture.[5]

The Beothuk lived throughout the island of Newfoundland, particularly in the Notre Dame and Bonavista bays areas. Estimates vary as to the number of Beothuk at the time of contact with Europeans. Scholars of the 19th and early 20th century estimated about 2,000 persons at the time of European contact in the 15th century. Recent scholarship suggests there were no more than 500 to 700 people. They lived in independent, self-sufficient, extended family groups of 30 to 55 people.[6]

Like many other hunter-gathering peoples, they appear to have had band leaders but probably not more formal "chiefs". They lived in conical dwellings known as mamateeks, which were fortified for the winter season. These were constructed by arranging poles in a circle, tying them at the top, and covering them with birch bark. The floors were dug with hollows used for sleeping. A fireplace was created at the center.

During the spring, the Beothuk used red ochre to paint not only their bodies, but also their houses, canoes, weapons, household appliances and musical instruments. This led Europeans to refer to them as "Red Indians". The use of ochre had great cultural significance. The decorating was done during an annual multi-day spring celebration. It designated tribal identity; for example, decorating newborn children was a way to welcome them into the tribe. Forbidding a person to wear ochre was a form of punishment.

The main sources of food for the Beothuk were caribou, salmon, and seals, augmented by harvesting other animal and plant species. The Beothuk followed the seasonal migratory habits of their principal quarry. In the fall, they set up deer fences, sometimes 30–40 miles long, used to drive migrating caribou and deer toward waiting hunters armed with bows and arrows.[7]

The Beothuk are also known to have made a pudding out of tree sap and the dried yolk of the eggs of the Great Auk.[8] They preserved surplus food for use during winter. They trapped various fur-bearing animals, and worked their skins for warm clothing. The fur side was worn next to the skin, to trap air against a person's body.

Beothuk canoes were made of bark. They were curved upward at the ends, with steep sides that rose to a point, and a V-shaped bottom.[9]

The Beothuk followed elaborate burial practices. After wrapping the bodies in birch bark, they buried the dead in isolated locations. In one form, a shallow grave was covered with a rock pile. At other times they lay the body on a scaffold, or placed it in a burial box, with the knees folded. The survivors placed offerings at burial sites to accompany the dead, such as figurines, pendants, and replicas of tools.[7]

European contact

About 1000 C.E., the Norse encountered natives in northern Newfoundland who may have been ancestors of the later Beothuk or Dorset inhabitants of Labrador and Newfoundland. The Norse called them skrælingjar ("skraelings" or barbarians).[10] Beginning in 1497 with the Italian John Cabot, sailing under the auspices of the English crown, later waves of European explorers and settlers had more continued contact.

In contrast with some other native groups, the Beothuk strove to avoid contact with Europeans, and moved inland as European settlements grew. They only visited their former camps to pick up metals, and would take tools, shelters and building materials left by European fishermen who dried and cured their catch before transporting it back to Europe at the end of the season. Contact between Europeans and the Beothuk was generally negative for one side or the other, with a few exceptions, such as that of John Guy's party in 1612. Settlers and Beothuk competed for important natural resources, such as salmon, seals and birds. In the interior, fur trappers established traplines, disrupted the caribou hunts and pillaged Beothuk stores, camps and supplies, while the Beothuk would in turn steal traps to repurpose the metals, steal from the homes and shelters of Europeans and sometimes ambush them.[2] These encounters led to enmity and mutual violence. With superior arms technology, the settlers generally had the upper hand in hunting and warfare. (Unlike other indigenous peoples, the Beothuk appeared to have had no interest in adopting firearms.)[11] The European frontiersmen exhibited callous behavior toward the natives, but the Beothuk seemed to have had an equally strong cultural imperative toward revenge that caused them to carry out attacks.

Intermittently, Europeans attempted to improve relations with the Beothuk. Examples included expeditions by naval lieutenants George Cartwright (trader) in 1768 and David Buchan in 1811. Cartwright's expedition was commissioned by Governor Hugh Palliser; he found no Beothuk but brought back important cultural information.

Governor John Duckworth commissioned Buchan's expedition. Though undertaken for information gathering, this expedition ended in violence. Buchan's party encountered several Beothuk near Red Indian Lake. After an initially friendly reception, Buchan left two of his men behind with the Beothuk. The next day, he found them murdered and mutilated. According to the Beothuk Shanawdithit's later account, the marines were killed when one refused to give up his jacket and both ran away.[2]

In 2010, a team of European researchers announced the discovery of a previously unknown mitochondrial DNA sequence in Iceland, which they further suggest may have New World origins. If the latter is true, one possible explanation for its appearance in modern Iceland would be from the capture and removal of a Native American woman, possibly a Beothuk.[12]


Population estimates of Beothuks remaining at the end of the first decade of the 19th century vary widely, from about 150 up to 3,000.[13] Information about the Beothuk was based on accounts by the woman Shanawdithit, who told about the people who "wintered on the Exploits River or at Red Indian Lake and resorted to the coast in Notre Dame Bay." References in records also noted some survivors on the Northern Peninsula in the early 19th century.[14]

During the colonial period, the Beothuk people also endured territorial pressure from Native groups: Mi'kmaq migrants from Cape Breton Island, and Inuit from Labrador. "The Beothuk were unable to procure sufficient subsistence within the areas left to them."[5] They entered into a cycle of violence with some of the newcomers. Beothuk numbers dwindled rapidly due to a combination of factors, including:

  • loss of access to important food sources, from competition with Inuit and Mi'kmaqs as well as European settlers;

  • infectious diseases to which they had no immunity, such as smallpox, introduced by European contact;

  • endemic tuberculosis (TB), which weakened tribal members; and

  • violent encounters with trappers, settlers and other natives.

By 1829, with the death of Shanawdithit, the people were officially declared extinct.[7]

Oral histories asserted that a few Beothuk survived for some years around the region of the Exploits River, Twillingate, Newfoundland; and Labrador; and formed unions with European-Canadians, Inuit and Mi'kmaq.[15] Some families from Twillingate claim partial descent from Beothuks of the early 19th century.

In 1910, a 75-year old Native woman named Santu Toney, said to be the daughter of a Mi'kmaq mother and a Beothuk father, recorded a song in the Beothuk language for the American anthropologist Frank Speck, who was doing field studies in the area. She said her father had taught her the song. This is further evidence that some Beothuk people survived beyond the death of Shanawdithit in 1829, as Santu Toney was born about 1835. Contemporary researchers have tried to make a transcription of the song, as well as improve the recording by current methods. Native groups have learned the song to use in celebrations of tradition.[16]


    1. ^ Dictionary of Newfoundland English

    2. ^ a b c Upton LFS (1991). "The Extermination of the Beothucks of Newfoundland". In Miller J. Sweet promises: a reader on Indian-white relations in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 68–89. ISBN 0-8020-6818-9

    3. ^ Mithun, Marianne (2001). The Languages of Native North America (First paperback ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 368. ISBN 0521232287

    4. ^ Marshall, 1996, p. 7-10.

    5. ^ a b Kuch, M; et al (2007). "A preliminary analysis of the DNA and diet of the extinct Beothuk: A systematic approach to ancient human DNA" (pdf). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132: 594–604. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20536.

    6. ^ Marshall, 1996, p. 12.

    7. ^ a b c Anonymous (James McGregor) (1836). "Shaa-naan-dithit, or The Last of The Boëothics". Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country XIII (LXXV): 316–323.  (Reprint, Toronto: Canadiana House, 1969)

    8. ^ Cokinos, Christopher (2000). Hope is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds. New York: Warner Books. p. 313. ISBN 0-446-67749-3

    9. ^ Marshall, 1996, p. 37-38.

    10. ^ Fagan, Brian M. (2005). Ancient North America: the archaeology of a continent. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28532-2

    11. ^ Marshall, 1996, p. 33.

    12. ^ Ebenesersdóttir et al. (January 2011). "A new subclade of mtDNA haplogroup C1 found in icelanders: Evidence of pre-columbian contact?". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 144 (1): 92–99. doi:10.1002/ajpa.21419. Lay summary – Vancouver Sun (19 November 2010). 

    13. ^ Marshall, 1996, p. 147.

    14. ^ Marshall, 1996, p. 208.

    15. ^ Marshall, 1996, p. 224-6.

    16. ^ Perry, SJ (2008-09-10). "Santu’s Song: Memorable day for Beothuk Interpretation Centre". Porte Pilot. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 


  • Hewson, John. "Beothuk and Algonkian: Evidence Old and New." International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Apr., 1968), pp. 85–93.

  • Holly, Donald H. Jr. "A Historiography of an Ahistoricity: On the Beothuk Indians." History and Anthropology, 2003, Vol. 14(2), pp. 127–140.

  • Holly, Donald H. Jr. "The Beothuk on the eve of their extinction." Arctic Anthropology, 2000, Vol. 37(1), pp. 79–95.

  • Howley, James P., The Beothucks or Red Indians, 1918. First published by Cambridge University Press. Reprint: Prospero Books, Toronto. (2000). ISBN 1-55267-139-9.

  • Marshall, I (1996). A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-1390-6.

  • Marshall, I (2001/2009). The Beothuk. Breakwater Books. ISBN 1550812580

  • Pastore, Ralph T., Shanawdithit's People: The Archaeology of the Beothuks. Breakwater Books, St. John's, Newfoundland, 1992. ISBN 0-929048-02-4.

  • Renouf, M. A. P. "Prehistory of Newfoundland hunter-gatherers: extinctions or adaptations?" World Archaeology, Vol. 30(3): pp. 403–420 Arctic Archaeology 1999.

  • Such, Peter, Vanished Peoples: The Archaic Dorset & Beothuk People of Newfoundland. NC Press, Toronto, 1978.

  • Tuck, James A., Ancient People of Port au Choix: The Excavation of an Archaic Indian Cemetery in Newfoundland. Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1994.

  • Winter, Keith John, Shananditti: The Last of the Beothuks. J.J. Douglas Ltd., North Vancouver, B.C., 1975. ISBN 0-88894-086-6.

  • Assiniwi, Bernard, "La saga des Béothuks". Babel, LEMÉAC, 1996. ISBN 2-7609-2018-6

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