Research project shines light on Beothuk-Anglican relations – Part I

4 February 2016

Research project shines light on Beothuk-Anglican relations – Part I

[Anglican Church of Canada by Matt Gardner] Alongside the legacy of cultural genocide against the Indigenous peoples of Canada, embodied in the residential school system, is the tragic history of what some scholars consider to be a case of full-fledged genocide. The Beothuk, the Indigenous people of Newfoundland, were declared extinct in 1829 following the death of their last known living member, Shanawdithit. The annihilation of a people due to starvation, disease, violence and competition for resources, and the loss of virtually their entire culture, followed centuries of encroachment by European settlers.

In 1819, an armed band of men journeyed into central Newfoundland seeking a Beothuk group accused of stealing their property. During the resulting skirmish, several Beothuk people were killed, including Nonosabasut, the man believed to be the chief of the tribe.

His wife, Demasduit, was captured and brought to the town of Twillingate. There she was put in the care of the Rev. John Leigh, an Anglican priest and missionary who in 1816 had become the area’s first resident clergyman and who voiced concerns about the treatment of the Beothuk.

The full article can be found here

[photo.The Rev. Dr. Joanne Mercer, rector of the Parish of Twillingate, stands beside Gerald Squires' statue "The Spirit of the Beothuk" in Boyd's Cove, Nfld. The statue depicts Shanawdithit, the last known living member of the Beothuk people.]