The on the land of Newfoundland, LabradorThe on the land of Newfoundland, Labrador

The beothuk an extinct nationWho are the beothuk? Why are they relevant to Canadian history? Why are they extinct? ”The Beothuk are a group of extinct first nations peoples from Newfoundland who were Algonquian speaking hunter gatherers”- Ralph T. Pastore. The beothuk were indigenous to newfoundland for thousands of years. The adjustment to the newcomer European explorers were not beneficial in there own favour. But before contact what were there traditions and relations to the other indigenous groups of newfoundland? And why did the turn out of post contact affect them to be extinct?The beothuk inhabited the island of newfoundland estimated since the 1500s and are believed to be the ancestors of people they call ”the little passage people”. Today they believe that the Innu are there closest relatives to the Beothuk because on the land of Newfoundland, Labrador and parts of Quebec had a group of people named “the revenge point“ which were  the closes related to Innu and Beothuk. The Beothuk are not the first group of humans to reside on Newfoundland but were still indigenous to that land at a later period. With not having records of population there is no actual answer as to how many people were from this indigenous group. The Beothuk population estimates there could have been 500-2000 which is a very wide range in numbers.Similar to majority of indigenous societies the Beothuk were very knowledgeable about their surroundings and relied on the land. These people are said to have had the knowledge of plants in the area and would harvest edible roots, berries and fruits. Hunting was a huge part of survival, The areas of the island had many options for hunting as they could fish, hunt sea mammals or inland animals. The most common animal to hunt would be the caribou because of the food source, hyde and fur to keep warm. Relating to other groups it seems by archaeologist dig sites that they had a migration system on land dependent on season which would circle other animal systems that most benefited towards hunting. There is not much evidence and knowledge as to traditions culture or religion because of the minimal connections to these people. A forsure part to their lives that we can be certain about was the technologies they used and had further adapted as settlers came. For hunting they had used spears and harpoons made from wood. With caribou traveling the land as a migration system and having the Beothuk knowledgeable of when and where they would have been in the area, they would build fences made from cut trees to trap the caribou as a hunting technique. From the many tools they made it was common to use red ochre on the different resources as well as they would use it on their bodies. When settlers and explorers arrived they had described the beothuk as ” red indians” since having the ochre on them which is interesting to think that may be a part of the origins of describing indignouse as red skinned people. Housing for this group of individuals looked similar to a wigwam and tipis combined, Using wood or birchbark homes without hyde but in a triangular shape. The Beothuk also had separate housing to store there food in 10 feet long buildings made of wood that looked similar to a longhouses used by other indigenous groups. To prevent rotting and to utilize proper perseverance of their food they would dry and smoke meat then place the meat in birchbark baskets, They would also store fat of seal to use for heating up on a fire and a technique for cooking. After contact there were abandoned european sites from returnal or simply moving elsewhere on the island and the Beothuk were known for taking left items and transforming the objects for personal use which changed some habits but aided. Their homes remain the same but tools like a spear for example would now have iron tips and partially change traditions.The Beothuk were isolated from outer peoples and may have had trading networks or relations with fellow indigenous peoples of newfoundland but it is unknown. They were commonly said to travel separate in groups from 50-90 as large families. European explorer John Cabot( Giovanni Caboto)  arrived to Newfoundland being one of the first settlers to have encountered possibly the Beothuk or Innu in Canadian history. Later John Cabot after his first arrival in 1497s attempted to claim land for Henry VII of england and returned two other times. Shortly after the arrival Europeans developed relationship trading networks with other indigenous groups on the island mainly mi’kmaq.The explorers began to come in larger numbers taking up more land space. The Beothuk avoid contact with europeans and were almost never involved in trade. With taking up larger spaces the beothuk were forced to areas that were different from their main hunting grounds. Over 300+ years the Beothuk slowly died out with as they know the last one of their kind passing in 1829. It is not certain if there may have been a few unknown Beothuk still alive after for further years but still being extinct within that time period. Reasoning of extinction basses off the loss of the main areas that were now inhabited by settlers that they followed for hunting strategies and became scarce on food. A huge factor that was a main theory as to an addition on how the Beothuk people became extinct is catching the foreign viruses from there new neighbors such as smallpox. The interesting part is they have no official documentation as to official reasoning of death so there is no guarantee that there prefered idea of what would make sense beliefs are true that leads people to different conspiracies.The Beothuk one of the indigenous groups from the past that are now gone and still a mystery to us today. With Newfoundland being the first place to be colonized even if it was the last province added to Canada after a 49/50 vote out of 100 it shows the impact towards indigenous peoples throughout Canadian history. There extinction is tragic but not forgotten as they have good representation historically in St.John’s museum The Rooms. Hopefully in the future we’ll find more information by artifacts to learn more on this society. The Beothuk were one of the many indigenous groups on newfoundland and first to be discovered in canadian history as we know.