When Europeans came to
Newfoundland, first to fish and later to settle, they found the island already
inhabited by the Beothuk Indians. These indigenous people
were only the most recent of a series of cultures
who made the island of Newfoundland their home over the millennia. Students who
desire a useful overview of these cultural sequences should turn to Lisa
Rankin's chapter, "Native Peoples from the Ice Age to the Extinction of the
Beothuk c. 9,000 Years Ago to AD 1829)," in the
Newfoundland Historical Society's A Short History of Newfoundland and
Labrador (St. John's: Boulder Publications, 2008). William Fitzhugh examines
the factors behind, and the cultural impact of, Norse contact with indigenous
people, as well as contact by Basque and sixteenth-century English explorers in
"Early Contacts North of Newfoundland Before A.D. 1600: A Review," in William W.
Fitzhugh (ed.), Cultures in Contact: The Impact of European Contacts on
Native American Cultural Institutions A.D. 1000-1800 (Washington & London:
Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985), pp. 23-43. A more recent essay on the
theme appears in Chapter 5, "The Giving Tree," of History in the Making: The
Archaeology of the Eastern Subarctic (Lanham, NJ: AltaMira Press of Rowman
& Littlefield, 2013) by Donald H. Holly Jr.. An
historical geographical perspective to the topic one that emphasises an
environmental historical approach — is provided by Graeme Wynn in Canada and
Arctic North America: An Environmental History (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO,
2007). A now dated but still useful essay by Jacques Rousseau and George Brown
on "The Indians of Northeastern North America" can be found in the first volume
of the hard copy edition of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, pp.
5-16 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
The Beothuk people have attracted much attention by scholarly and non-scholarly writers alike. This interest is driven to a great extent by the fact of their cultural extinction early in the nineteenth century. Yet to a considerable extent, public fascination with the Beothuk people is also driven by the sensational myths which sprang up to account for that extinction. Because the supposed extinction of the Beothuk people of Newfoundland in the early nineteenth century is such a foundational moment in Canadian history, students are encouraged to examine the many essays presented found in Tracing Ochre: Changing Perspectives on the Beothuk (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018), edited by Fiona Polack. Here, a diverse collection of contributors offer reassessments of popular non-Indigenous perceptions and beliefs about the Beothuk. Placing the group in global context, the essays juxtapose the history of the Beothuk with the experiences of other Indigenous peoples outside of Canada, with the aim of shifting established perceptions of the Beothuk people.
Until fairly recently, the definitive source of information about the Beothuk has been James Howley's The Beothuck or Red Indians: The Aboriginal Inhabitants of Newfoundland, first published in 1915 by Cambridge University Press and since reprinted in affordable paperback editions. It is full of descriptive material and reprinted documents which continue to make it a very useful source of information for students. An influential and controversial assessment of Beothuk history was provided by Frank Speck, an ethnologist who came to Newfoundland in 1914 and published his work, Beothuk and Micmac (New York, 1922; reprinted, New York: AMS Press, 1981) a few years later. He maintains, for instance, that Beothuk individuals survived into the twentieth century; see below. The recent publication of A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996), a substantial study by Ingeborg Marshall, will almost certainly displace Howley as the start point for most research into this topic. Like so many Beothuk specialists, Marshall is an anthropologist, a discipline on which, together with archaeologists, historians have come to depend a great deal in their efforts to reconstruct and interpret the world of the Beothuk. Indeed, Marshall's use of an interdisciplinary approach to her study is exemplary; her historical research is meticulous, the ethnographic material is unlikely ever to be surpassed though continued archaeological investigation will almost certainly enhance what she offers, and overall, her conclusions about the extinction of the Beothuk and their culture are always measured and carefully qualified. Nevertheless, anyone using Marshall's book should bear in mind the cautionary words of Charles Martijn in his review essay about this book (Newfoundland Studies XII: 1+2 [Spring and Fall 1996], 105-131), namely that "not everyone will agree with the overall design [of Marshall's interpretation, but that] no one can contest its bold originality." (p. 107) For instance, Marshall maintains that Beothuk- Mi'kmaq hostility was substantial; this argument, which she first developed at length in "Beothuck and Micmac: Re-examining Relationships," Acadiensis XVII: 2 (Spring 1988): 52- 82, is not accepted by all scholars, and in her book, Marshall herself concedes that "the hunting habits of the two populations were different enough...that their paths would rarely have crossed." (p. 50)
Marshall had already published extensively on the Beothuk, supplementing the documents in Howley with "An Unpublished Map Made by John Cartwright Between 1768 and 1773 Showing Beothuck Indian Settlements and Artifacts and Allowing a New Population Estimate", Ethnohistory XXIV: 3 (1977): 223-249 and, more recently, editing Reports and Letters by George Christopher Pulling Relating to the Beothuk Indians of Newfoundland (St. John's: Breakwater Press, 1989). If there is one drawback to Marshall's book, A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk, which might discourage students from using it, it will probably be its length — it weighs in at more than six hundred pages. Students seeking a quick but still thorough overview of the history of Beothuk archaeology should turn to Ralph T. Pastore, "Archaeology, History, and the Beothuks," Newfoundland Studies X: 2 (Fall 1993): 260-278.
We know very little about the early period of European-Beothuk contact in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, largely because almost no written records were kept or survive, and those that did, told only one side of the story. This means that, as we try to understand the Beothuk response to that contact, we are forced to depend on records that are almost entirely European in origin. This both obscures and distorts our understanding of the Beothuk in the late 1500s and early 1600s. In "A Historiography of an Ahistoricity: On the Beothuk Indians," History and Anthropology XIV: 2 (2003): 127-140, Donald H. Holly revisits the way in which past scholars have interpreted the Beothuk culture and extinction, particularly the long-standing perception of the Beothuks as a "cultural anachronism" in the native history of northeastern North America. Specifically, the Beothuk have been viewed as a people who were not capable of making the transition from prehistory to the modern era. Holly explores the evidence for this view and the conclusions drawn by the evidence by past scholars. More recently, in "The Ties that Bind and Divide: Encounters with the Beothuk in Southeastern Newfoundland," Journal of the North Atlantic III (2010): 31-44, Holly, Christopher Wolff, and John Erwin argue that the failure of Beothuk-European relations was due to the unpredictability of their contact experience. More will be said about this shortly. William Gilbert has also re-visited this early sixteenth-century period of Beothuk-European contact and challenges those like Leslie Upton and Ingeborg Marshall who assume that contact during this period was violent, and thereby set the stage for the better-documented violence of the eighteenth-century; see William Gilbert, "Beothuk-European Contact in the Sixteenth Century: A Re-evaluation of the Documentary Evidence," Acadiensis XL: 1 (Winter/Spring 2011): 24-44.
turning to the methodologies of disciplines other than history, we are able to
revise some of our long-held perceptions of the Beothuk, especially during the
proto-historic and early contact period.
in "Back to the Beaches: New Data Pertaining to the Early Beothuk in
Newfoundland," Northeast Anthropology XLVII (Spring 1994): 71-86, Laurie
McLean discusses new data which indicate that the traditional Beothuk culture
appears to have been only slightly modified by exposure to Europeans during the
initial contact period in the seventeenth century. Many maintained that the
Beothuk tried to avoid contact with the Europeans by withdrawing away from those
parts of the coast frequented by fishermen. This view is based in part on the
fact that John Guy's encounter with the Beothuk in 1612, described in William
Gilbert, "'Divers Places': The Beothuk Indians and John Guy's Voyage into
Trinity Bay in 1612," Newfoundland Studies VI: 2 (Fall 1990): 147-167,
appeared to have been the last recorded contact until Europeans began to push
into the Notre Dame Bay region in the mid-eighteenth century. In "The Place of
'Others' in Hunter-Gatherer Intensification," American Anthropologist
CVII: 2 (June 2005): 207-220, Donald Holly confirms
that there was a noteworthy increase in the use of the interior by the Beothuk
during the historic period as compared to the immediate pre-contact period, as
shown by the change in settlement strategies between the Little Passage (the
prehistoric Beothuk) and the Beothuk. Holly develops his ideas further in
"Social Aspects and Implications of 'Running to the Hills': The Case of the
Beothuk Indians of Newfoundland," The Journal of Island and Coastal
Archaeology III: 2 (2008): 170-190, and in "Places of the Living, Places of
the Dead: Situating a Sacred Geography," Northeast Anthropology LXVI
Central to Holly's interpretations is his belief that the Beothuk did not abandon the coast completely but rather continued to make use of some coastal regions well into the eighteenth century, in order to harvest marine resources. P. Rowley-Conwy concurs with Holly; see "Settlement Patterns of the Beothuk Indians of Newfoundland: A view from away," Canadian Journal of Archaeology XIV (1990): 13-29. The continuing coastal presence of the Beothuk is also indicated in a rare French account of an encounter in the Cape St. John area with natives in 1787; see Peter Bakker and Lynn Drapeau, "Adventures with the Beothuks in 1787: A Testimony from Jean Conan's Autobiography," in Actes du Vingt-Cinquième Congrès Des Algonquinistes, ed. William Cowan (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1992), 32-45.
In any case, as European fishermen and, more significantly, over-winterers, began to encroach upon the salmon-rivers and fur-trapping regions of the northeast coast of the island, contact became more frequent and, more often than not, was characterized by friction and violence. For example, Jean Conan's 1787 adventure took him briefly to Fogo, where the residents made clear their unremitting hostility to the Beothuk. See also Allan Dwyer's dissertation, Atlantic Borderland: Natives, Fishers, Planters and Merchants in Notre Dame Bay, 1713-1802 (PhD thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2012). But one of the best documented examples of the violence of Newfoundland residents towards the Beothuk was the experience of Demasduit. For essays on Demasduit, and the furriers under the leadership of John Peyton Sr. who captured her and slew her husband, Nonosbawsut in 1819, see DCB V: 243-244 and DCB VI: 580-581.
This violence caused considerable concern among British
authorities. They desired peaceful relations with the Beothuk, if only
out of a conviction that the fishery thrived best under conditions of peace and
Expeditions led by John Cartwright in 1768 and David Buchan in 1811/12 (see
Dictionary of Canadian Biography [hereafter cited as DCB] VII:
114-116 for an essay on
attempted to establish peaceful contact with the Indians, though the expedition
into the Exploits Valley in 1819, led by John Peyton Senior (DCB
VI: 580-581) and son, both furriers, was sadly more typical of relations by
then between Europeans and Beothuk. There were also missionary efforts to
promote peace and friendship between the Indian and white cultures; these are
discussed in Ingeborg Marshall, "Methodists and Beothuk: Research in Methodist
Archives," Newfoundland Studies II: 1(Spring 1986): 19-28 and Philip E.L.
Smith, "Beothuks and Methodists," Acadiensis XVI: 1(Autumn 1986):
118-135. Finally, in 1822, William Epps (Eppes) Cormack hoped to make contact
with the Beothuk when he and his Mi'kmaq companion, Sylvester Joe (see
VI: 351-352) set out to explore the interior of Newfoundland in
1822 (in so doing, Cormack became the first European to cross the Island of
Newfoundland overland). Cormack subsequently established the Beothic Institute
in 1827 in a final attempt to establish contact the Beothuk. For more on
Cormack, see the essay by George Story in the
IX (1861-1870), pp. 158-162, the brief overview by David Pelley, "In
Search of William Cormack," in The Newfoundland Quarterly CVIII: 3
(Winter 2015/2016), pp. 34-36, and two articles by Ingeborg Marshall and Alan G.
Macpherson, "William Eppes Cormack (1796-1868): A Biographical Account of the
Early Years," in Newfoundland & Labrador Studies XXXI: 1 (Spring 2016),
pp. 78-109, and "William Epps Cormack (1796-1868): The Later Years," in
Newfoundland and Labrador Studies XXXII: 1 (Spring 2017), pp. 86-150.
However, all these efforts were for naught; by then the population of the
Beothuk had probably already declined below the threshold of viability. In 1829
Shawnadithit, the last known surviving Beothuk, died of tuberculosis (see
The extinction of the Beothuk as a people and a distinct culture does not preclude the possibility that individuals survived or intermingled with other indigenous people. David T. McNab is satisfied that Beothuk descendants were still alive and met Frank Speck when that ethnologist came to Newfoundland in 1914 to engage in research that eventually led to his book Beothuk and Micmac (New York, 1922; reprinted, New York: AMS Press, 1981); McNab's views were presented in two papers: "The Mi'kmak of Ktaqamkuk, Sylvester Joe and William Epps Cormack: Some Uses of Exploration Literature as History and as Propaganda," West Virginia University Philological Papers XLIV (1998): 58-64; and "The Perfect Disguise: Frank Speck's Pilgrimage to Ktaqamkuk — The Place of Fog — in 1914," American Review of Canadian Studies XXXI: 1-2 (Spring-Summer 2001): 85-104. The possibility is also raised and explored by John S. Mitchell in a brief essay, "All Gone Widdun ('asleep'/died): Was Shawnawdithit Right?," Newfoundland Quarterly XCIII: 1 (Fall 1999): 39-41.
Predictably, perhaps, the extinction of the Beothuks — and there is no question that the Beothuk as a culture became extinct — has become shrouded in sensation and myth. The demonstrable hostility and violence between Indian and Europeans in the late eighteenth century provided the dubious basis for claims that the Beothuk were "hunted for sport," that white men massacred the Beothuk by the hundreds, and that their extinction was therefore an act of genocide perpetrated by white men. That their extinction was a tragedy is undeniable; perhaps it could even have been prevented. Yet sober inquiry has challenged the worst excesses of the standard mythology, and we are beginning to recognize that how we perceive the Beothuk often says more about us than it does about the Beothuk. This point is eloquently made by Richard Budgel in "The Beothuks and the Newfoundland Mind," Newfoundland Studies VIII: 1 (Spring 1992): 15-33. In Tracing Ochre: Changing Perspectives on the Beothuk (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018), edited by Fiona Polack, a diverse collection of essays is available to students by contributors who offer reassessments of popular non-Indigenous perceptions and beliefs about the Beothuk.
The more extreme myths about the Beothuks have been dismissed by Frederick Rowe in Extinction — The Beothuks of Newfoundland (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson), while Leslie F.S. Upton methodically picks them apart in "The Extermination of the Beothucks of Newfoundland," Canadian Historical Review LVIII: 2 (June 1977): 133-153, reprinted in Robin Fisher and Ken Coates (eds.), Out of the Background: Readings on Canadian Native History (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1988), pp. 45-65, and in "The Beothucks: Questions and Answers," Acadiensis VII: 2 (Spring 1978): 150-155. Upton suggests that the Beothuk never numbered more than two thousand at best and that these low numbers, together with their hunter-gatherer subsistence economy, made them vulnerable to any disruption or interruption of a fragile food chain, as when friction with European fishermen forced the Beothuk to reduce their presence in coastal areas. Upton's thesis is reinforced by James Tuck and Ralph Pastore, who show that the Beothuk extinction was not unprecedented; see their essay, "A Nice Place to Visit, but .... Prehistoric Human Extinctions on the Island of Newfoundland", Canadian Journal of Archaeology IX: 1 (1985: 69-80, which develops a paradigm linking human extinctions on the island of Newfoundland to the limitations of the island's ecosystem. Michael Deal and Aaron Butt use the discipline of archaeobotany to examine the Beothuk subsistence economy in greater detail; see "The Great Want: Current Research in Beothuk Palaeoethnobotany," in Hunter-Gatherer Archaeobotany: Perspectives from the Northern Temperate Zone, ed. Sarah L. R. Mason and Jon G. Hather (London: Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 2002), 15-27.
Yet Frederick A. Schwartz challenges the paradigm of Beothuk subsistence fragility and vulnerability in "Paleo-Eskimo and Recent Indian Subsistence and Settlement Patterns on the Island of Newfoundland," Northeast Anthropology XLVII (Spring 1994): 55-70; he argues that the Newfoundland environment was much less restrictive than Tuck and Pastore assume. Priscilla Renouf has also proposed an alternative model which suggests that indigenous hunter-gatherers would have coped with the unpredictability of resources on the island by maintaining connections with related groups in mainland Labrador; see "Prehistory of Newfoundland hunter-gatherers: extinctions or adaptations?" in World Archaeology XXX: 3 (1999): 403-420. In "Environment, History and Agency in Storage Adaptation: On the Beothuk in the 18th Century," Canadian Journal of Archaeology XXII: 1 (1998): 19-30, Donald H. Holly Jr. suggests that the singular focus on food procurement normally associated with hunter-gather cultures needs to be re-examined, that strategically placed caches of stored food may have given the Beothuk greater resiliency. This theme is further developed by Marianne P. Stopp in "Ethnohistoric Analogues for Storage as an Adaptive Strategy in Northeastern Subarctic Prehistory," Journal of Anthropological Archaeology XXI: 3 (September 2002): 301-328. In short, as Donald Holly argues in "The Beothuk on the Eve of Their Extinction," Arctic Anthropology XXVII: 1 (2000): 79-85, there has been too strong a tendency in the recent literature to portray the Beothuk "as a doomed people, without agency or adaptation en route to extinction." Holly prefers to regard the Beothuk "as active players pursuing social objectives within this malevolent historical context," and proceeds to identify some of the strategies employed by the Beothuk to cope with their increasingly unavoidable contact with Europeans.
strategy they did not employ was to establish a commercial partnership with the
Europeans, as many mainland indigenous people did. Ralph Pastore reasons that
the Beothuks did not develop a trade with Europeans primarily because they were
able to acquire thousands of iron objects from seasonally-abandoned fishing
premises without any need or desire to trade for them; see R. Pastore,
"Fishermen, furriers and Beothuks: the economy of extinction," Man in the
Northeast 33 (Spring 1987): 47-62, reprinted in Darrin McGrath (ed.),
From Red Ochre to Black Gold (St. John's: Flanker Press, 2001), pp. 24-41.
Pastore maintains that this is the most important factor in explaining the lack
of contact between the Beothuks and Europeans or the emergence of the kind of
economic relationship with Europeans that cushioned indigenous people elsewhere
against the sort of factors which contributed to the Beothuk demise. One of
those factors may have been the reduced gene pool caused not only by their small
numbers but also by lack of amicable contact with other indigenous people. These
arguments are made in Ralph Pastore, "The Collapse of the Beothuk World,"
Acadiensis XIX: 1 (Autumn 1989): 52-71; Pastore's article was subsequently
reprinted in the second and third editions of Acadiensis Reader: Volume One,
Atlantic Canada Before Confederation (Fredericton: Acadiensis Press, 1990,
1998), edited by P.A. Buckner, David Frank, and (the third edition) Gail G.
Campbell, pp. 11-30 in the first two editions. Disease also played its part, though the
dispersed nature of the Beothuk people may have mitigated the effect of European
diseases until other factors combined after the middle of the eighteenth century
to concentrate their population into a denser pattern. See Ingeborg Marshall,
"Disease as a Factor in the Demise of the Beothuck Indians," Culture I: 1
(1981): 71-77. A revised version of this paper, with some corrections, was
subsequently published in Carol Wilton (ed.), Change & Continuity: A Reader
on Pre-Confederation Canada (Whitby, ON: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1991), pp.
One recurring — and controversial — explanation for the Beothuk extinction is that the Mikmaq Indians were hostile to the Beothuk and contributed to their demise. But before we go further on this question, we must consider who the Mi'kmak actually are.
That the Mikmaq are indigenous to Nova Scotia is accepted by all. However, the Mi'kmaq maintain that, at the very least, they are also indigenous to Newfoundland because the island was part of their traditional hunting territory; see Charles A. Martijn, "An Eastern Micmac Domain of Islands," in William Cowan (ed.), Actes du vingtième congrès des algonquinistes (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1989), pp. 208-231. Their journeys to Newfoundland, and the technology which made it possible, are examined in several essays in Charles A. Martijn (ed.), Les Micmacs et la mer (Montreal: Recherches amérindiennes au Québec, 1986), including Norman Clermont, "L'adaptation maritime au pays des Micmacs," pp. 11-29, Ingeborg Marshall, "Le canot de haute mer de Micmacs," pp. 29-48, Charles A. Martijn, "Voyages des Micmacs dans la vallée du Saint-Laurent, sur la côte-nord et à Terre-Neuve,” pp. 197-223, and Ruth Holmes Whitehead, “Navigation des Micmacs le long de la côte de e l'Atlantique," pp. 225-232. However, there are those who insist that the Mi'kmaq are truly indigenous to Newfoundland — that their range of habitation extended across the Cabot Strait to include a substantial part of the island of Newfoundland; see Frank Speck, Beothuk and Micmac (New York, 1922; reprinted, New York: AMS Press, 1981) and, more recently, Michael G. Wetzel, Decolonizing Ktaqmkuk Mi'kmaw History (M.Laws thesis, Dalhousie University, 1995). A more succinct statement on the theme that the Mi'kmaq domain included southern Newfoundland appears within Charles Martijn's essay-length assessment of Ingeborg Marshall's book, A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk, appearing in Newfoundland Studies XII: 1+2 (Spring and Fall 1996), pp. 105-131 and, more recently, in "Early Mi'kmaq Presence in Southern Newfoundland: An Ethnohistorical Perspective, c. 1500-1763," Newfoundland Studies XIX: 1 (Spring 2003; Special Issue on "The New Early Modern Newfoundland: to 1730"): 44-102. Brandon Morris picks up on the idea that the Mi'kmaq had a significant association with Newfoundland and maintains that strong French, Mi'kmaq and Acadian social, economic, and cultural relations persisted between the Mi'kmaq, who began to settle in the Bay D'Espoir region on Newfoundland's South Coast, and the French and Acadians who resettled Saint-Pierre and Miquelon following the return of those islands to France in 1763; see "those two insignificant Islands": Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and Social and Cultural Continuity in Northeastern North America, 1763-1793 (MA thesis, University of Saskatchewan, 2012). At the very least, a Mi’kmaq perspective of their history in Newfoundland is needed. Towards this end, an article by Mercedes Peters, “The Future is Mi’kmaq: Exploring the Merits of Nation-Based Histories as the Future of Indigenous History in Canada,” Acadiensis XLVIII: 2 (Autumn 2019): 206-216 offers important insight into an approach to Mi’kmaq history which emphasizes the need for historical understanding and analysis from that perspective.
Yet not veryone accepts the view that the Mi'kmaq were an indigenous people of Newfoundland. A much more conservative position is that the Mi'kmaq were immigrants from Nova Scotia who did not come to Newfoundland in a sustained manner until historic times. According to this view, the first significant effort by Mi'kmaq to settle in Newfoundland did not occur until the early 1760s, in the region of Hermitage Bay and Bay D'Espoir. Circumstances were such that a number of them soon shifted their efforts to Bay St. George on the west coast, although some did settle permanently at Conne River in Bay D'Espoir; see Dennis Bartels and Olaf Uwe Janzen, "Micmac Migration to Western Newfoundland," Canadian Journal of Native Studies X: 1(1990): 71-94; available on-line at <http://www.brandonu.ca/library/cjns/10.1/bartels.pdf>. The initial attempts by the Mi'kmaq to establish themselves in Bay D'Espoir is the focus of another paper by Olaf Janzen, "The Royal Navy and the Interdiction of Aboriginal Migration to Newfoundland, 1763-1766," International Journal of Naval History VII: 2 (August 2008) [e-journal: < http://www.ijnhonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Janzen.pdf>]; reprinted in Olaf U. Janzen, War and Trade in Eighteenth-Century Newfoundland ("Research in Maritime History," No. 52; St. John's, NL: International Maritime Economic History Association, 2013), pp. 173-192. The argument that the Mi'kmaq were recent arrivals is reinforced by the absence of any archaeological evidence in support of their presence before the arrival of Europeans. For example, in "Patterns in Precontext Site Location on the Southwest Coast of Newfoundland," Northeast Anthropology No. 68 (Fall 2004), pp. 41-55, Tim Rast, M.A.P. Renouf, and Trevor Bell report on the results of archaeological work in the vicinity of Burgeo which "suggest that late Recent Indians were eventually attracted [there] by a seasonal European presence that provided iron and other European materials" (p. 51).
Whether or not they were an indigenous people of Newfoundland or recent arrivals, there is no question that by the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Mi'kmaq were an established fixture of Newfoundland society. An excellent survey of the Mi'kmaq in Newfoundland was prepared by Edward Tompkins for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians; look for Ktaqmkukewaq Mi'kmaq Wlqatmuti: The Mi'kmaw People of Newfoundland: A Celebration (Corner Brook: Federation of Newfoundland Indians, 2004). But see also Ralph Pastore, The Newfoundland Micmacs: A History of Their Traditional Life (St. John's: Newfoundland Historical Society, 1978), and "Indian Summer: Newfoundland Micmacs in the Nineteenth Century," in Richard Preston (ed.), Papers from the 4th Congress, Canadian Ethnology Society (Ottawa: National Museum of Man, 1978), pp. 167-178.
The link between the arrival of the Mi'kmaq and the extinction of the Beothuk was made soon after the last Beothuk had died; see Dennis Bartels, "Time Immemorial? A Research Note on Micmacs in Newfoundland," Newfoundland Quarterly LXXV: 3 (Christmas 1979): 6-9. Bartels explores the controversy further in "Ktaqamkuk Ilnui Saqimawoutie: Aboriginal Rights and the Myth of Micmac Mercenaries in Newfoundland," in B.A. Cox (ed.), Native People, Native Lands: Canadian Indians, Inuit and Metis (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1987), pp. 32-36. Ingeborg Marshall is one of the few scholars to maintain that hostilities between the two people were extensive and lasting, and that the Mi'kmaq therefore contributed to the Beothuk decline. However, as indicated above, the conclusions that she presented in support of this argument in "Beothuck and Micmac: Re-examining Relationships," Acadiensis XVII: 2 (Spring 1988): 52-82 are somewhat tempered in her subsequent monograph, A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996). For a good, single-volume overview of the Mi'kmaq in Newfoundland, see Doug Jackson; ed. Gerald Penney, "On the Country": The Micmac of Newfoundland (St. John's: Harry Cuff, 1993).
The history of indigenous Newfoundland is not limited to the Beothuk and Mi'kmaq; Labrador has a substantial indigenous population. Their history, however, is discussed elsewhere in this essay's treatment of Labrador as a distinct region.
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