Boyd’s Cove’s Beothuk past

In one of my Canadian studies courses I was compelled to complete when I first came to Canada, I learned about the Beothuk—the original inhabitants of Newfoundland. They covered their bodies in red clay to ward off mosquitoes and when Europeans arrived, they mistakenly gave them the name, red skins. 

There was a connection between the Beothuk and Australian Aborigines of Tasmania because on both islands, Europeans wanted to eradicate the islands’ indigenous peoples. Unfortunately, in both instances they succeeded. Not only did the Beothuk die from tuberculosis, but they were systematically hunted and murdered like those in Tasmania. In Newfoundland, these attacks coincided with a few years of harsh winters that destroyed an already vulnerable people.

In Boyd’s Cove, I stumbled upon the Beothuk Interpretive Centre as I drove through. The site of the museum on Notre Dame Bay had once been a Beothuk settlement. There was an interesting museum but what hit home was the outdoors spirit garden for the extinct people. Like other visitors before me, I tied an offering on the tree in their memory.

Featured Image: courtesy Carib, Wikimedia Commons

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