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Shanawdithit

(c. 1801—1829) the last of the Beothuk


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(1800/3–29). In April 1823 this last-known Newfoundland Beothuk and her mother and sister were found by settlers in starving condition in Badger Bay. The mother and sister soon died. Other close kin had already perished; only 13 Beothuk were left. Shanawdithit was taken into the household of John Peyton, Jr, on Exploits Island, where she assisted with housework and children. In September 1828 the Boeothick (now Beothuk) Institution transferred her to St John's to the home of William E. Cormack, who described her as intelligent, high-spirited, and proud. Cormack obtained from her a Beothuk vocabulary, a population census since 1811, and information on Beothuk artifacts, practices, and beliefs, as well as on encounters with Englishmen—including Lt (later Capt.) Buchan's expedition in 1811—which she elucidated with sketches and maps. In January 1829, Shanawdithit joined Attorney General James Simms's household but died of consumption on 6 June. She was buried in St John's.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.


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