Disappointed with story on Beothuk

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I am very disappointed with your article “Beothuk not extinct,” April 6, particularly with the coverage you have given it with a large front-page illustration.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion but to present it in your paper without reservations is contrary to sound reporting.

The Beothuk were a distinct cultural group with their own language, belief system and ways of life. Though they may have shared some of these with other native groups or tribes, they were nevertheless a unique ethnic and cultural entity.

Even if a few Beothuk were absorbed by the Mi’kmaq, after six generations or more, with no new Beothuk “blood” infusion, the percentage of Beothuk gene material in today’s Mi’kmaq offspring would be 1.5 per cent or less. Do you honestly think that this justifies the claim that the “Beothuk (are) not extinct”?

The fact is, the Beothuk culture has disappeared and so have the people.

The investigation of the DNA of Icelanders by Danish scientists, reported in The Telegram several years ago, concluded that a genetic marker in a number of people was of unknown, probably native American origin though it is also found in Asia. It has been speculated that the marker could be Beothuk, and it might be, but until a full, scientific Beothuk DNA study has been completed, we will not know.

The study, initiated by the Beothuk Institute, is in the hands of a team of geneticists at MUN and McMaster Universities, and a specialist on isotopic work, also at MUN. Several samples have been taken and initial tests and other preparatory work have been done, in part financed by donations made at the Boyd’s Cove Interpretation Centre and a small Newfoundland government grant.

But funding for the major DNA study and a comparison with genetic material from other native groups, including Mi’kmaq, has not yet been obtained. Several applications with appropriate agencies, submitted over a number of years, were turned down, though we are hoping that our latest attempt will finally be successful. Until we have received the necessary financial support the study remains in abeyance.

Ingeborg Marshall

Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s

Organizations: Beothuk Institute, MUN and McMaster Universities, Cove Interpretation Centre

Geographic location: Asia, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • White Hair
    May 16, 2014 - 21:43

    As regarding a final note pertaining to the upcoming Beo aDNA study, one should exercise extreme caution in making any predictions about autosomal percentages in the skeletal samples. We must all keep in mind that we are dealing with a very small sample size (~22), which may range over a large time span, extending from the Little Passage period to the 2 skulls of Nonosabasutt and Demasduit. One should follow the "null hypothesis" in predicting that the mtDNA (HVR I-II & full) (A, C, D, & X), YDNA SNP-STR (Q3), and autosomal test results should without exception show NA (Native American) origins. With the exception of some anecdotal and ethnohistorical evidence pointing to naval deserters (whether French Basque or Breton), female adoptees rescued from shipwrecks, and adoptees kidnapped from coastal settlements, the evidence is not strong for WE (Western European) gene flow from Western European groups into the extended Beo kin group. One should also expect high NA autosomal counts, ranging from 90.0-99.0 %. If there is indeed a WE autosomal component it is very low, of the upper limit order of around 10.0% and a lower limit order of around 1.0%. So it is this percentage that future molecular geneticists will have to focus their attention on to determine. It will be very interesting to see if this 10.0% of the Beo genomes does match with the genomes of Nl Mc (and perhaps some NL Anglo-Irish-French settlers) descendants with a reported or proven connection to this group, through mtDNA or YDNA. It may be informative to test the Beothuk genomes for genes strongly associated with light skin colour (e.g., KITL, ASIP, SLC24A5), light eye colour (e.g., OCA2, HERC2, SLC24A4), as oral tradition accounts of liivng descendants from the Labrador splinter group that migrated from Red Indian Lake ca. 1828 suggest that "some of them had light eyes", so it would be interesting to test DNA evidence against oral tradition accounts. It would also be interesting to see if the Beo sample collection tests positive for HLA A+ as confirmed in the 4,000.0 BP Saqqaq Inuk sample from Greenland. The existence of A+ in Greenland Inuit groups, and perhaps by extension Tuniit (Dorset) Inuit, or Groswater Palaeo-Inuit groups, may explain in part at least some of the high frequency of A+ HLA blood groups recorded among some mainland NS Mc groups at the turn of the 20th century. Serologists and molecular biologists theorized or hypothesized that the high frequency of A+ came from European intermarriage-but could some of the origins point to early contact period Beo. intermarriage, indirectly through earlier Dorset Inuit? As an additional question, is there any evidence that to substantiate any contact between Little Passage groups and Tuniit, that may account for similarities in burial practices between both groups, where the former adopted this practice from the latter through the latter through imitative copying? Such a comparison between Dorset Inuit and NL Beo may provide some clues or hints towards an approximate 500 year overlap when both groups shared the island. It is both logical and common-sensical to assume that there was indeed some degree of gene flow with shared cohabitation of an island domain, where both subsistence-settlement patterns and hunting domains would inevitably intersect! The only other point that can be commented on with regard to the upcoming DNA study, which is currently in abeyance (pending funding!), is the relationship between the Maritime Archaic Indian sample collection and the Beo one, and the how the genomes of both tested groups reflect changes in migration and gene flow over time. While there are some reports that some Red Paint People skeletons were dug up through Maine at the turn of the century, as far as the present researcher is aware there has not been any DNA testing on these humain remains to date. It would be interesting to determine if and or how both the Red Paint People and Maritime Archaic Indian complexes show overlapping gene flow continuity over the millennia. One final feature that prove informative to understanding ancient migration routes and settlement patterns would be to determine if both MA & Beo skeleta test positive for SNP C3 YDNA clades, or Q3 ones only. If MA samples show a high frequency of C3 could this not prove NL Mc traditions of the Sa'qewejkik "Ancient Ones", being in NL before the Pi'tawkewaq? To sign off, one should not expect any ground-breaking, revolutionary test results confirming high-frequency gene flow that will rewrite history-expect more of the 2006 AJPA test results with slighltly more variation and correspondingly more expository detail in interpretation . The only evidence for any physical features outside of or deviating from the NA norm recorded among any Beo kin group, would be the Stock Cove-Frenchman's Island TB group, which is nothing more than an extesnion of the Piper's Hole, PB extended kin group, and that is a different story!

  • White Hair
    May 16, 2014 - 14:06

    Here is a question that has not been answered to date. Has anyone, whether a genealogist-family historian, archivist, researcher, or even a general layman from the public, ever petitioned the Beothuk Institute or the Trinity Historical Society to have a commemorative plaque erected at or near the Trinity Anglican (TA) cemetary to honour the life of John August, a Beothuk or Red Indian captive who grew up it that community and neighbouring Catalina. Here is an extract excerpted from Howley (1915) giving some biographical information on John August: "Simultaneously with Mr. Clinch, a Beothuk Indian stayed in that town, known as John August. Tradition states that he was taken from his mother when a child and brought up by a colonist, Jeffrey G. Street. He then remained in Street's house as a faithful and intelligent servant, and when arrived at manhood was entrusted with the command of a fishing smack manned by whites. Frequently he obtained leave to go into the country, where he probably communicated with his tribe. The parish register of Trinity records his interment there on October 29, 1788. As there is no other Beothuk Indian known to have resided among white people of Newfoundland at that time, it is generally supposed that Mr. Clinch, who lived there since 1783, obtained his collection from none else but from John August." Marshall (1996:125) supplements this biographical sketch of Sa'n Aka (Aga)-August (Agatha) in more detail: "Instead, Palliser offered a reward for "a live Indian" that led, in August 1768, to the capture of a second boy, known as John August, or August. As described earlier, furriers had come across this boy and his mother, killed the mother on the spot, and carried the boy away, siad to have been about four years old at the time, too young to have given any useful information, August was taken back to England the following winter and "displayed as a curiosity to the rabble at Poole for two pence apiece" He was later brought back to Newfoundland where he was reared in an outport community and subsequently employed in the fishery. In 1785 August worked for Mr. Child in Catalina, Trinity Bay, and shortly after for Mr. Thomas Street, in Trinity. August died in October 1788, aged twenty four, and was buried in the Trinity churchyard. The entry in the church register reads: "October 29th 1788. Interred John August (a Native Indian of this Island), a servant of Jeffery and Street". Those who knew August well said that he frequently expressed his wish to meet the murderer so he might avenge her death. Magistrate William Sweetland later claimed that for many years, August spent two or three weeks, each year away from the settlement, it was thought he visited his family in the interior during these times, "though he did not commit his secret to anyone" " [as a postscript to this excerpt, that fact that some Beo terms were elicited from Sa'n Aka in some of the published vocabularies, does in indeed suggest or support the fact that he had contact with his kin group in the interior, after his initial kidnapping as a child, his indentured servitude or enslavement as a "sideshow freak" or "circus curiosity", and his subsequent employment in the local seasonal outport fishery. Furthermore, by logical extension, the family name or patronym of August (Agatha), is very similar in form to the traditional NL Mc patronym of Agathe (Ockett), as attested by Jean Michel Agathe (Aga),or John Mitchell, which leads one to believe that the ancient Nl Mc patriline of Michel/Mitcell is somehow connected, perhaps albeit indirectly. This interpretation is both parismonious and tenable given the attested connection of the Michel patriline to the Red Indian Lake group (as per Howley fieldwork), the ancient NL Mc place names or toponyms in the Mollyguajeck-Lake St. John & Freshwater Bay Bonavista Bay area derived from the Michel patronym, and the connection of the Michel patriline to the ancient Mc-Beo intertribal village of Nukamkia`ji`jk (as per the narrative Indian Scrape, NQ 1914)-it is my belief based on extensive research that the Michel (Agathe), August, and John (Baptiste) patrilines are all connected to the ancient Beothuk hunting territory or domain extending from Gander (Terra Nova) River eastwards to Port Blandford, Clode Sound, and southwards to the Piper`s Hole-Black River watershed areas, with all the known Mc habitation sites or villages inclusive within, such as Mollyguajeck, John Pond, and Gambo River watershed areas, which were ceded to encroaching Mc-Mont hunting groups ca. 1760-775 after intermarriage with local Beo kin groups and retreat of in situ traditonal Beo kin groups further west. It is my understanding, at least through independent archival-historical research and consultation with other researchers that the precise location of John Augusts`s burial plot cannot be determined with exactitude. However, this lack of defintive certainty should not detract the representative authorities from doing the right thing in honouring his life and time. As far as the present researcher is aware Laurie MacLean was the only other researcher who came forward, in the public domain at least, to allude to the conjectural supposition that John August may have had sexual realtions or interactions with females from that community. Prior to this, the question was never addressed to the public in writing. For instance, as but one example to be cited, not to exclude other probable instances so as to detract from an attck by critics, there is a suspicious or interesting baptismal entry from the Trinity Anglican records which may point to the interaction of a local woman with a servant of Street: 03 Jan 1789 Mary, daughter of Catherine Bettice of Geo. Peck, servt to Mr. Street (Bastard) This entry is interesting in that it shows that Catherine Bettice (Bettis, or perhaps Battise) was employed by Mr. Street (either Thomas Street, or Jeffry G. Street noted above), who had an illegitimate child for Geo. (George) Peck (later Pick, or Pike, also attested as Pake, Peak, Peek, Pisk, Pique, and Pike) (the same kin group of English-British Harbour, TB, later migrating to Tickle Harbour-New Harbour, TB and Piper`s Hole River, PB). The child would have been conceived app. 9 months prior to her birth on Jan 03 1789, say on Apr. 03, 1788 when John August was very much alive. No one asked the question, did Catherine Bettis, have a sexual relationship with John August, and if so did she bear a child for him prior to his death in Oct. 29, 1788! It is quite possible given the fact that they were both servants employed under the same company, and would have worked together in close contact for extended periods of time-Trinity was not a large place in 1788-9, and not every household employed servants! Given the reported eye-witness accounts which bear testimony to the physical attractiveness of Beo captives and other members of the group encountered within the interior during this era, his physical appearance or physiognomy would have been perceived as appealing. Here we have a mature adult male belonging to a rare exotic group, in the peak of his adult sexual life, combined with the sensational and sympathizing circumstances of his capture & upbringing, and the aura of mystique surrounding his people, who at this time were still ``living at large`` or ``on the run`` as a wild free people``, escaping capture and one can see how a local outport girl would have been enamored by such as man. This leads one to the question, however absurd or insane, that, unfortunately, will may never be answered by modern forensic science, did John August really die in Oct. 1788, and if so was he really buried in Trinity! Could he have conspired with family members from his extended kin-group while on one of his forays into the interior to fake his own death if you will, so that he could start a new life. One could be certain that his family members did indeed encourage him to leave the community of Trinity which they would have perceived as potentially life threatening and to come back with his people to live in peace with them. Although evidence is lacking, one can infer that there was indeed overt discrimination, bullying, aggression against him, and perhaps even threats against his life, experienced by him from local fishermen. The evidence for aggaression and discrimination elsewhere against First Nations people serves as an inviolable, unexceptional and inexusable legal fact and precedent, so why would it be any different in a place like late 18th century Trinity, especially when this man outnumbered, mistrusted, mistreated and uttering claims or threats of exacting revenge or vengeance against the murderer of his mother, and one can see clearly how volatile and flammable the situation was for John Ausgust! While it is assumed that John August drowned in a boating accident, could one ever disprove the possibility that circumstances were not manipulated by his kin group as a rescue mission to make it look like John August`s body was retrieved,.....If we assume that John August died from drowning in a boating accident, could one positively identify, without any reasonable doubt, given bloating and partial decay, a body from a closely-related family member with very similar physical features, who may have died before in the interior! Could John August have lived another day, returning back to his home village, taking a wife from that group and starting a family, and could he have later led the Beo splinter group out to the mountain enclave at Red Indian Pond, Piper`s Hole River, PB, later meeting his fate at Shoprock, Indian Scrape! All of the hypothetical conjectures aside, which will no doubt be questioned by critics, and may never be proven by current DNA testing at least, given the 6-7 Gens of separation from an alleged MRCA (namely John August & Catherine Bettice), which would yield an autosomal percentage of less than 1.0%. This leads to the question: although biogeographic ethnic origin autosomal DNA testing may not be able to prove such a trace, residue or reflex of such a shared origin, did John August leave a trace of this putative encounter in the form of a rare medical condition, which can be detected through SNP autosomal testing, namely GLi3 frameshift mutation! No one has ever questioned the role of the HPA (Hypothalamus Pituitary Axis) in mediating the neuroendocrinological feedback loop mechanism of stress adaptation, manifesting as a ``flight or fight response``. The role of the HPA, Pallister-Hall syndrome, and the cluster or cadre of associated symptoms, namely social maladaptivity, social isolation, inability to form social bonds, irritability,...., perceieved by eye-witness accounts of Beothuk survivors before the diaspora and official extinction, as a ``flight response`` noted as a `fear and mistrust of fellow man``, timidity, secrecy, or evasiveness. The evidence is pointing to the fact that something beyond intergroup competition and aggression for land, resources and mates culminating in genocide or widespread massacre, as well as widely accepted explanations of pandemics to account for Beo diaspora, population decrease and ultimatley extinxction. The paradigm has to be amended and updated to reflect emerging evidence, which is far more complicated than scholars want to concede. On a more concrete tangent no one can ever take away from the role of the female Beothuk captives (Oubee, Demasduit, Shanawdithit) and their invaluable contributions to sharing cultural and linguistic knowledge of their people, but it seems that the male role, while not forgotten per se, has received less official recognition or acknowledgement in the public domain. The general public knows very little about the Beothuk as it is, what we do know comes almost exclusively from the perspective of female captives-what about the male voice, the other half of the group, have we not forgotten them! I personally think that the time has come for the Beothuk Institute to honour the life of John August (Sa'n Akatha/Aka) with a small commemorative bronze plaque, perhaps commissioned by the Newfoundland Bronze Foundery. Think about it, its just the right thing to do, and the time has come. Both Laurie Maclean and Ingeborg Marshall should be commended for acknowedging his role, the former through a Beothuk Newsletter and the latter through a biographical sketch of him through her encyclopaedic tome: A History & Ethnography of the Beothuk. I realize that I am not the first person to raise the question in closed circles among professional academics and perhaps even among "household kitchen-table conversations" throughout NL, but the time has come to bring this topic more to the public light for healthy and positive dialogue. Sa`n Akatha mam(i)shit ke`shut

    • michael
      October 17, 2016 - 02:55

      very good topic ,thank s i am related to an (agathe) ancestor through my grand mother who died in 1964 in nfld i have lots of genealogy on her family tree. do you want to see it, it goes back to a lady born in 1784 named marie . i found a jean agathe a terre-neuve indian chief in 1720 on an internet search....||| keep up the great work... god bless

    • michael
      October 17, 2016 - 02:56

      very good topic ,thank s i am related to an (agathe) ancestor through my grand mother who died in 1964 in nfld i have lots of genealogy on her family tree. do you want to see it, it goes back to a lady born in 1784 named marie . i found a jean agathe a terre-neuve indian chief in 1720 on an internet search....||| keep up the great work... god bless

  • White Hair
    May 14, 2014 - 10:57

    Automated drone or remote sensing-viewing technology can prove to be beneficial in surveying remote access sites that are otherwise difficult to access by foot or boat-unless one were to use a helicopter or floater bush plane, which arachaeologists know is both time-consuming and expensive. One site in particular that may benefit from this technology would be the Red Indian Pond site, located within the Piper's Hole watershed area, hitherto unexplored by either a land-based archaeological survey or follow-up dig. Local residents or settlers from Swift Current area talk about this area, which they also call Indian Pond. They insist that there is indeed the remains or vestige of an ancient living site located in the southeast corner of the pond, located on the west side of an isthmus or peninsula extending or jutting into the pond. The site is said to be located on a plateau high-above the waterline of the pond, with a lookout viewpoint extending to the west and nortwest. It is said to consist of a cut over area grown over with grass where trees were once fell for firewood and hollow depressions in the ground suggestive of house pits or habitation sites (L. Eddy personal communication, Swift Current, PB, 2002, 2011). According to elders from the neigbouring community the site takes its name from the now extinct Red Indians or Beothuk, and its is believed that the Beothuk once lived there at the turn of the 19th century, prior to abandoning the ancient site. It is also believed that the Beothuk used this site as a temporary stopover or waypoint on their migration route from the Red Indian Lake area, prior to migrating to the ancient Mi`kmaw (Ktaqmkukewaw)-Pi`tawkewaw village of Nukamkia`ji`jk. The incident (1814-9) recorded at Shoprock (Huskie Outlook), Indian (Dirty) Scrape, near Culleton`s Pond, coincides with the period of occupation, settlement and migration history for the eastern splinter group of Beothuk survivors prior to their assimilation and integration into the in situ Mc-Beo group residing at Nukamkia`ji`jk. The place name or toponym of Red Indian Pond does not show up on topographic maps prior to the turn of the 20th century, and may have been registered or catalogued with Department of Lands later through field note reports recorded by James Patrick Howley, while conducting a premilinary geological survey of the Piper's Hole-Black River watershed areas 1868. It is believed that Howley elicited the toponym from either John Barrington, of Indian Cove (Brown's Island, or Pike Place), PHR, PB., or Joseph Bernard (Pekitualuet), of Conne River-Piper's Hole. The features of the site described above as elicited from Swift Current elders match exactly those described by the collective oral tradition, memories, dreams and visions of living descendants of families who once lived in the area but emigrated to the Trinity Bay South area ca. 1932-4.

  • White Hair
    May 12, 2014 - 15:41

    First I have to agree with Dr. Ingeborg Marshall that the Beothuk are in fact extinct as a distinct or unique cultural, linguistic and genetic group. As scholars in the field and general laymen from the public are aware the defining or distinguishing feature of Beothuk culture which differentiated itself in varying degrees to neighbouring Eastern and Central Algonquian groups was the profuse use of red ochre ((Beo. odemen, cf. Innu-aimun (Montagnais-Naskapi) uteimin (lit. his/her heart berry)). Assuming that a splinter group survived in the interior, migrating east-southeast within the hunting domain of the Ktaqmkukewaq, such as within the boundaries of the John/Baptiste family hunting territory, extending from Long Harbour River north to Terra Nova (John Pond-Mollyguajeck) and eastward towards Piper's Hole River, as suggested by the oral tradition testimony of Lewis John. Furthermore, if we also assume that Beothuk children were born ca. 1813-1818, as part of that core group, being around ten years of age during the time of the diaspora from Red Indian Lake (1823-1828) then it is indeed quite probable that some of these children who were ochred or stained as children continued this practice in secrecy or hiding as a tabooed mystico-religious ritual, perhaps up until the time of their deaths, around the turn of the twentieth century, say 1893-1918-given a lifespan of 80-100 years, which was not uncommon for nomadic/semi-nomadic hunter-gartherers during this era. The point is that as far as all collated evidence is concerned the practice of ochreing was not passed down as a group-specific cultural tradition to future generations following the diaspora and assimilation of survivors into Anglo-Irish-French culture at the turn of the 20th century. So, effectively, the cessation in this practice severed an ancient tie between generations and with it a concomitant loss of identity. As for survival of any Beothuk language residue, fieldwork and archival research to date has failed to turn up any evidence, despite some interesting leads. It is quite possible as the evidence suggests that the language once spoken by John Martin Jr. of Indian Cove, Piper's Hole (Nukamkia'ji'jk) was in fact some mix of Ktaqmkukewi'simk and perhaps another Algonquian language , like Innu-aimun or even Beothuk. It is safe to assume that the so called "pure form" of the Beothuk language that survived with the splinter groups, one migrating to Conne River-Bay St. George's, another to Labrador, and a small group of "traditionalists" migrating into the Piper's Hole watershed area, overstaying at Red Indian Pond before coming out at Nukamkia'ji'jk, before mixing the already mixed Mc-Beo. group resident there, effectively died out with the speakers who spoke this language. So the evidence collected to date, which is incontrovertible, unquestionable and uncontestable, all points to the fact that the Beothuk language is indeed extinct as a spoken and written language-no one will ever question this point. A similar argument can be extended the classification of the Beo. language as an Algonquian language, showing features of both Central and Eastern languge groups-in fact, Hewson's initial comparative-historical analysis can be expanded significantly to inlcude many more relfexes from PA and cognates with sister languages. The third point, which is contestable, debatable and extremely controversial, is whether the Beothuk are in fact extinct as a distinct genetic group. The answer to that question iunfortunately is variable and relative depending on how one defines "extinction" of a genetic group. This definition will also vary cross-culturally across time and according to changing legal definitions of what it means to belong to a certain ethnic group. The present researcher herein leaves the question open to interpretation and takes neither side for or against extinction based on variables or parameters of identity and how this is defined according to genetics. However, I do think and feel that the lower limit "blood quantum" or shared bio-geographic autosomal estimates of 1.5% as predicted by Dr. Marshall are rather low, and somewhat conservative, especially for some NL Mi'kmaq families with an attested or to-be proven Beothuk connection. This percentage of shared Beo. ancestry as to be proven by future autosomal studies may reach as high as 10.0% in some families, particularly some of those from the Conne River area, and perhaps the Barrington family of Black River-Piper's Hole, PB, so I think that it is rather premature at present to make such definitive and conclusive statements, until all the aDNA test results from the so called mummies have been collated and analyzed and then compared to DNA test results of reported or alleged living descendants participants-unless of course, that Dr. Ingeborg Marshall knows something that she is not sharing with the public. The question remains were the ancient nDNA genomes of either Nonosabasutt and Demasduit sequenced and then compared to some selected NL Mi'kmaw participant genomes as a preliminary "off-the-record" study," behind closed doors" so to speak, if you will? If so, the details of this test were not released to the general public or academic community for peer review and, thereafter, publication in a scholarly journal, but what could stop them from effectively doing this without consulting the public, which ultimately leads one to the question of openness and transparency in sharing of such information. As regards initiating a repatriation of Beothuk skeletal remains or mummies, it may be prudent prior to distributing a petition to formally and statistically gauge the level of public awareness and feedback on the issue by drafting a questionnaire survey or poll to quantify and qualify the results. Such a poll or questionnaire would inevitably give weight to to the feasibility of sponsoring such a research project. After introducing the intreviewee to the research background of the issue, one could ask questions, with binary yes/no answers, with/without supporting opinions, such as: 1.) do you think that the Beothuk skeletal remains currently housed in the above name museums should be be returned to thier former burial grounds or resting places, why/or why not?; 2.) do you think that aDNA testing should be used to determine if there are any known or to-be-proven descendants of the now extinct Beothuk, why/or why not?; 3.) do you think that aDNA testing should be stopped, why/or why not?; 4.) if NL Mi'kmaq have a proven genetic connection to the Beothuk skeletal remains, and if no other descandants can be confirmed outside this group to be related to the Beothuk study sample, and tangentially to the group as a whole, through existing DNA testing , do they have a right to speak and act on behalf of this now extinct group to assist in the expedient repatriation of the remains?; 5.) should Canada enact laws akin to NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection adn Repatriation Act) to deal with repatriation and protection of Native American remains, giving more power, control and authority neighbouring related groups to claim ancient skeletal remains found on their traditional territories, or to whom they profess an ancient connection? .... I personally agree with Saqamaw Mi'sel Joe that the process has been going on way too long here. NL once again is far behind other provinces/territories and have been accused of delay tactics. Like Mr. Joe said its been done elsewhere in Canada, but not here, why not? So why the delays, procrastination, and excuses! It seems that the "old school" in government and academia has been running the show here in NL, largely behind the scenes as part of a "closed door elitist club" or "secret society", "hard core conservatives" if you will who stubbornly hold onto and defend their research positions and ideals, refusing to bow to the flow of coming change. Both parties are dug deep in their trenches refusing to budge an inch. Isn't it time to "stop dragging the heels" and get the job done. The drafting of future legislation like a Canadian version of NAGPRA would effectively slow down wait times, expedite repatriation-reburial procedures and avoid a lot of potential confusion resulting from sharing of information in the public domain through academia and government-while creating other conundrums, the crux of bureaucracy! Furthermore, and as a final note, when descendants have been confirmed among NL Mi'kmaw testees they should fight to have checks and balances legislated in place, akin to the Mi'kmaq Ethics Watch and Considerations and Templates for Ethical Research Practices, to monitor and enforce who can and who can not conduct research in this area, what topics or areas of research can and can not be studied. Ultimately, such legislated policies would keep researchesr in check according to established guidelines and procedures. of ethical reseach that is healthy and productive, benfiting all parties in question. It raises and will raise even more questions about who should profit from the sale or promotion of any research literature regarding an extinct group of people? Who has the right to benefit financially or to gain through reputation and notoriety, through the expense of an extinct people? The answer is obvious to all. Essentially, to summarize a long-winded exhortation all the skeletal remains should be repatriated and reburied as soon as possible under the guidance of the NL Mi'kmaq and all research regarding this extinct group should receive consulation with and final approval from representative authorities within the Nl Mi'kmaw Nation-the closest living genetic relatives and descendants of the now-extinct Beothuk.This is 2014, not 1814. This is not "rocket science"and we're not trying to find a alternative means of interstellar-intergalactic travel here that will bring man to the outer reaches of the cosmos! We're not in a race here to travel faster than the speed of light here. We're looking at 22 skeletons, the DNA testing technology is here, the research professionals are here, so why the "anal retention"-"let go, and let God"

  • Ardy Born With 3 Thumbs
    October 19, 2013 - 22:38

    I would like to comment on Ms Marshall's knowledge of the Beothuk of Mi'kma'ki. In her book "THE BEOTHUK" Chapter 12, page 53, last paragraph, she states; "In the summer of 1818, Shanawdithit's mother and sister and a young child were killed on their way to an island to collect eggs and birds." And, Chapter 16, page 64, she states; "In April 1823, Shanawdithit, together with her mother, Doodebewshet, her father, her older sister, and possibly others, had come to the coast to look for mussels. When they encountered furriers Shanawdithit's father tried to escape and drowned while crossing a brook. The women surrendered and were brought to the magistrate, John Peyton Jr. on Exploits Island. He took them to St. John's, but after a short visit was asked to return them to the Exploits River. The mother and older daughter were suffering from a consumptive illness and soon died. Shanawdithit, sasid to be in better health, was taken into John Peyton Jrs. household, where she acted as a kind of servant." So, my question would be, just when and how did Shanawdithit's mother and sister die? Were they killed or die of a consumptive illness? In my opinion, they were murdered and those that were kept as "captives" were used as slaves. The historians who write about my people don't seem to get it right. There are just too many "historical facts" written by the abusers that try to clear them of all crimes against humanity, when the facts are before them say otherwise. Who could love the abusers that killed their mothers, sisters, babes and husbands? Can you believe that Demasduit and Shanawdithit loved their captors? Nope.

  • Cindy Murray
    April 29, 2013 - 17:15

    I hope the Beothuk Institute soon raises the funding necessary to continue with their DNA testing to find genetic material from the Beothuk in the Mi'kmaq people. DNA testing should also be done with present day Europeon and French settlers as well because if the genetic link survived with just one known female brought to Iceland by the Vikings, it stands to reason that there could very well be much more to be discovered right here in Newfoundland!! Contact with Europeon or French settlers meant almost certain death for the Beothuk, so they would have likely wanted to keep their origin secret. Because their skin was lighter than most native groups, removing the red ocher from their bodies might have made it easier for them to blend in with Europeon and French settlers. We won't know how much Beothuk DNA exists in current day settlers until the research is completed.

  • Winston Adams
    April 12, 2013 - 08:02

    I have not read the Telegram article, 'Beothic not Extinct' thinking, as Marshall says it is 'not sound reporting'. I have read much of Ingeborg Marshall's work who writes with authority on the Beothic. Sensational items like this on the front page of the Telegram may serve to deflect our guilt of our white and Mi'kmaq ancestors on their involvement in the ( in my opinion) genocide of the Beothic. To suggest the Beothic is not extinct,The Telegram article does nothing to remove the stain on our history. Anyone interested in the truth about the Beothic, I refer them to Marshall's book. I applaud her gentle reminders of historical facts.

    • Ardy Born With 3 Thumbs
      November 16, 2013 - 09:31

      Winston, you live in denial. Ingeborg writes with "authority" about the death of Shanawdithit's mother and sister, so just what year did they die? In the summer of 1818, or, April 1823. Murdered while trying to collect eggs or of a consumptive illness. Come on! Perhaps you and Marshall believe both, but only one can be true. Remember, they shot Shanawdithit too, in the hand and foot. My vote goes to the earlier date and murder would fit the bill. Just sayin ...

  • LMW
    April 11, 2013 - 19:38

    Just asking for clarity It should provide more clues about the origin of the Beothuk and establish an approximate time span to their most recent common ancestors with the Innu and Mikmaq, We expect that the study will show what archaeological, linguistic, and historic evidence is already suggesting, namely that these three native groups are relatively closely related. Direct quote from Ms. Marshall at the 2007 Convocation at MUN. My question is what does relatively closely related actually mean