Maron P (2019) The Passing of the "Red Indians of Newfoundland". Colonisation and Agency in the Beothuk's Extinction in the 17th-19th Centuries: Success and Failure. Spark: Stirling International Journal of Postgraduate Research, (5), pp. 1-10. https://spark.stir.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Article-1-Red-Indians-of-Newfoundland-.pdf
Achieving subsequent notoriety as the “Red Indians” for the use of ochre on their bodies, the Beothuk were the main indigenous inhabitants of Newfoundland at the time of contact with Europeans at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The settling of European fishermen along the coast progressively cut the Beothuk off from their traditional resources. They slowly retreated inland and closed in on themselves, coming to the coasts only to steal European items, bringing retaliation from the settlers. The reduction of their territory, access to hunting grounds, environmental factors, the colonists’ persecution eventually had the upper hand on the tribe who dwindled toward extinction. After the death of the captive Shanawdithit on 6th June 1829, the Beothuk were declared a defunct cultural entity. Different reasons have been advanced to explain their demise; however, these all stem from their denied freewill and community agency. This paper will aim at restoring their place in their history; expanding up on their image as a doomed tribe, due to their failure to adequately respond to their victimisation by both colonists and nature. Lastly, a hypothesis will be made that the Beothuk acted according to a taboo whose consequences were both a success and a failure, and accelerated their demise.
Beothuk; First Nations; colonisation; agency; taboo; Red Indian; ochre; middle ground, extinction
Spark: Stirling International Journal of Postgraduate Research, Issue 5