Qalipu First Nation Enrolment Process



1949 to 2012

When Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949, Mi’kmaq communities were not recognized as First Nations under the Indian Actand their legal status, as well as the status of their members, was uncertain.

Discussions between the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) led, in 2008, to the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band, and, in September 2011, an Order in Council established the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation as a “band” under the Indian Act.

The 2008 Agreement provided for an enrolment process to assess applications for founding membership in the band. Applications for founding membership in the First Nation were assessed by an Enrolment Committee, composed of an equal number of representatives from Canada and FNI, and a jointly appointed independent chair. The Enrolment Committee’s role was to assess each application for membership in a fair and consistent manner.

Approximately 27,000 applications were received in the first stage of the enrolment process, which concluded on November 30, 2009. Of these, 23,877 applicants were found eligible and registered as Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. From November 30, 2009 to September 22, 2011 (when the band was created), the number of applications rose sharply. By the application deadline of November 30, 2012, the total number of applications rose to approximately 104,000.


On July 4, 2013, the Government of Canada and the FNI announced a Supplemental Agreement that addressed the surge in applications, clarified the process for enrolment, and resolved issues that emerged from the implementation of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.

Under the 2013 Agreement, it was determined that all applications, except for the approximately 3,000 already assessed and rejected, would be reviewed by August 31, 2015, followed by an appeal process which would end on March 31, 2016. The review would include the applications of all the individuals registered as Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, to ensure that all applicants met the criteria for eligibility set out in the 2008 Agreement and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement.

2014 to 2016

On April 2, 2015, Canada and the FNI announced that the enrolment process deadline was extended to June 30, 2016, and the appeal process deadline was extended to January 31, 2017. As well, the Enrolment Committee was expanded from four members to twelve.

Canada and the FNI agreed that the enrolment decisions of approximately 101,000 applications would be communicated at the same time. The Enrolment Committee conducted an initial review of the applications based on the validity criteria outlined in the 2008 Agreement and, in November 2013, sent letters to advise applicants of the status of their applications. Approximately 94,000 applicants were notified that their applications were deemed valid and roughly 6,500 applicants were notified that their applications were deemed invalid.

In December 2013, two applicants for enrolment in Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, Mr. Sterling Clyde Foster and Mr. Alex Howse, initiated proceedings against Canada and the FNI in the Federal Court of Canada over the Enrolment Committee’s determination that their applications were invalid. One application was deemed invalid because of a missing signature; the other because it did not include a long-form birth certificate. The Federal Court agreed with the applicants, and found that they were not given notice of the missing information or an opportunity to correct their applications. For that reason, in September 2015, the court set aside the Enrolment Committee’s decisions and ordered that both applications be evaluated for founding membership.

Canada and the FNI decided to apply the same reasoning to all applications that were deemed invalid consistent with the court decisions. As a result, in April 2016, approximately 6,500 individuals were given an opportunity to correct their applications, and submit additional material in support of their applications, for review by the Enrolment Committee. Of these, 16% of applicants sent additional information for consideration by the Enrolment Committee. The Enrolment Committee’s deadline to review the applications was extended to no later than January 31, 2017, and the appeal process deadline was extended to September 30, 2017.


The Enrolment Committee has completed a diligent review of all 101,000 applications for founding membership in the band, as assessed against the 2008 Agreement and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement.

As a result, the Enrolment Committee sent letters of decision, on January 31, 2107, to each applicant with the results of its review. In some cases, the letters confirmed eligibility as Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and Indian Status, while in other cases applicants were informed that they do not qualify as a Founding Member (to be completed in accordance with the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Act).

Some individuals who are deemed to no longer meet founding membership requirements may be eligible for registration under the Indian Act as being a child of a confirmed Founding Member. INAC is currently determining the number of these eligible individuals and options for a seamless transition.

Applicants who are eligible to appeal the Enrolment Committee’s rejection of their applications will have until April 13, 2017 to initiate an appeal. All appeals will be concluded by September 30, 2017. The tabling of the Founding Members List to the First Nation will be issued no later than February 28, 2018 and changes to the Indian Registry will be made shortly afterwards in spring 2018. Access to programs and services related to Indian status will not change until after the Founding Members List is confirmed through an Order in Council.

Throughout the process, the Government of Canada and the FNI have been and continue to be committed to the integrity of the process for enrolment of Founding Members in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, in accordance with the 2008 Agreement and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement.

The creation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is an important step forward for the Mi’kmaq people of Newfoundland. As we continue to move ahead, the Government of Canada and the FNI look forward to maintaining a meaningful nation-to-nation relationship and ongoing dialogue.

2018:  Results of the enrolment process

Of the 100,682 applications reviewed during the enrolment process, the results are as follows:

  • the updated Founding Members List is now comprised of 18,575 individuals:
    • 13,479 Founding Members remained on the updated list
    • 5,096 applicants were added to the updated list
  • 10,396 previous Founding Members were removed from the updated list:
    • approximately 2,700 of these individuals have had their registration category amended and remain a band member and registered Indian, but not a Founding Member
  • 71,711 applicants were denied founding membership as they did not meet the enrolment criteria.
Source:  Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada – https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1372946085822/1372946126667

The History of the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq

In what is now Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, a part of the Gaspé Peninsula and eastern New Brunswick, the Aboriginal people who greeted the first European visitors to their coasts were the Mi’kmaq (Micmac). Human occupation of this region extends back to more than 10,000 years ago, during which time its Native inhabitants adjusted to dramatic climatic change, significant technological development, and the arrival of new groups from the south. None of these things, however, would have as great an effect upon Aboriginal people as the coming of strangers from Europe. In the century after John Cabot’s 1497 voyage to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Mi’kmaq would trade furs for copper kettles, woolen blankets, iron knives, and the other products of early modern Europe, as well as shallops (small sailing vessels) to carry the new goods to other Native peoples throughout the Gulf and as far south as New England. During this period, if not earlier, the Mi’kmaq reached the island of Newfoundland.

Scattered references in English and French historical records suggest that during the 17th century (1600-1700), Mi’kmaq families hunted, fished, and trapped from Newfoundland’s southwest coast to Placentia Bay. Travelling back and forth between Cape Breton and Newfoundland, these Mi’kmaq incorporated the island of Newfoundland into what one researcher has aptly called a “domain of islands” (Martijn 1989).

Relations with the French, English, and the Beothuk

The question of the nature of Mi’kmaq relations with the French, with the English, and with the Beothuks is a contentious one. The French, who long fished off Newfoundland’s coasts, were sporadically at war with the English from the end of the 17th century to the beginning of the 19th century, and it has been argued that French authorities brought the Mi’kmaq over from Cape Breton as allies in the war with England. This is clearly not the case. The Mi’kmaq who came to Newfoundland did so of their own accord, and only after their arrival on the island did the French ask for their assistance. Not surprisingly, Mi’kmaqs had fought for years against English settlers in New England.

It has also been alleged that the French paid a bounty to the Mi’kmaq to collect Beothuk heads. This charge also does not hold up under close examination. French records reveal no indication of such a bounty; rather, it is probable that as the Mi’kmaq presence on the island increased, the Beothuks, as they did with European settlers, avoided the Mi’kmaq. (In this regard it should also be noted that Mi’kmaq oral tradition includes examples of friendly relations with the Beothuks, including the belief that the Mi’kmaq provided a haven for refugee Beothuks.)

Newfoundland Occupancy

The question of the nature of Mi’kmaq occupancy of Newfoundland during the 17th and early 18th centuries is another controversial question. Mi’kmaq oral tradition holds that the Mi’kmaq have continuously occupied the island since precontact times and that this original population was later joined by a group from Cape Breton. Other authorities argue that Mi’kmaq occupation of the island was not permanent until the 1760s (Bartels and Janzen 1990). These authors contend that, while Mi’kmaq from Cape Breton hunted, fished and trapped in Newfoundland on a seasonal basis from a very early date, during the 1760s, the “insensitivity and indifference” of the British, combined with their “resistance to Mi’kmaq demands that a Roman Catholic priest be appointed to serve their spiritual needs” were the most powerful factors influencing a group of Cape Breton Mi’kmaq, led by Chief Jeannot Pequidalouet, to take up permanent residence in Newfoundland (ibid., 86). Martijn (1989), however, cautions that we are imposing our own ideas of how and where people lived centuries ago when we employ terms such as the “Cape Breton Mi’kmaq” or “Newfoundland Mi’kmaq” for early historic Native people. Rather, Martijn argues, the period was a time when a group of Mi’kmaq sometimes lived and hunted in what we now call Cape Breton and sometimes that same group exploited the resources of what we now call Newfoundland. Both islands, in other words, were part of the group’s traditional territory. Indeed, given the movement back and forth between these two islands until the beginning of the 20th century, perhaps this is the best way to think of the ancestors of today’s Newfoundland Mi’kmaq.

For Mi’kmaq everywhere, however, the defeat of the French by the British, and the loss, in 1763, of all French territory in North America (except for the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon off Newfoundland’s south coast) were traumatic experiences. When there were two imperial powers fighting for control of the continent, the Mi’kmaq were valued–and subsidized–as military allies of the French. With the loss of those subsidies and the decline of the fur trade in the northeast, the Mi’kmaq of the Atlantic region faced a grim future. That was particularly true in the Maritime provinces where British settlers occupied the lands and waters which had once been Mi’kmaq. For those Mi’kmaq living in Newfoundland, however, the late 18th century and much of the 19th century was a kind of “Indian summer”, a period when the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq were able to hunt, fish, and trap in the interior of Newfoundland–a region then relatively unknown by Newfoundlanders of European ancestry.

With the demise of the Beothuks in the early 19th century, Mi’kmaq trappers and hunters expanded their range from the southern region of the island to include much of the interior of the main portion of the island. Mi’kmaq camps were to be found in St. George’s Bay and the Codroy River in the southwest, White Bear Bay and Bay d’Espoir on the island’s south coast, and Bonavista Bay, Gander Bay, and the Bay of Exploits in the northeast. In 1857, Newfoundland census takers recorded Mi’kmaq families in St. George’s Bay, Codroy River, Grandy’s Brook (on the south coast), Conne River, Bay d’Espoir, and in the Bay of Exploits.

At the beginning of the 19th century, a British naval officer indicated a Mi’kmaq village of about 100 people in Bay St. George, and by the 1830s, Newfoundland missionaries were referring to a Mi’kmaq village in Conne River of about the same size. It is possible that the number of Mi’kmaq living in Newfoundland at any one time in the 19th century was about 150 to 200 people, but population figures for Native people in this era must be regarded with caution. It is not at all clear that European observers took into account the fact that families moved seasonally between home villages, hunting territories, fish camps, and traplines. Census-takers, too, were not always reliable, nor is it likely that they could always win the trust of Native informants.

Newfoundland Mi’kmaqs ranged throughout the interior of the island, trapping beaver, otter, fox, lynx and muskrat which they exchanged for guns, knives, flour, tobacco, and other things which they could not make. Although families laid claim to specific trapping territories, hunting for meat, especially caribou (an essential part of Mi’kmaq diet), was open to all.

Guides, Explorers, and Sportsmen

Although the major portion of the Mi’kmaq food supply consisted of the fish and game of the country, and the bulk of the people’s income came from trapping, other activities were also important. For example, the Mi’kmaq’s intimate knowledge of the interior meant that they were in great demand as guides for explorers and sportsmen. William Cormack’s 1822 expedition across Newfoundland to search for the remnants of the Beothuks has been lauded as the first traverse of the island by a white man, but it could not have been done without his guide, a Mi’kmaq named Sylvester Joe. Significantly, the two encountered Indians in the interior several times during their journey. After Cormack, missionaries such as Edward Wix, geologists such as J.B. Jukes, Alexander Murray and James P. Howley, and sportsmen and naturalists like the noted J.G. Millais, all relied upon Mi’kmaq guides.

Mi’kmaq knowledge of the country served them in other ways, as well. In the 1850s the colonial government hired Mi’kmaq guides to survey a route for a telegraph line which was to run the length of the island from St. John’s to Port aux Basques. After the line was completed in 1856, Mi’kmaqs were retained as repairmen. Because Newfoundland’s ice-bound northern coasts prevented delivery of the mail in winter, the government decided in the 1860s to hire Mi’kmaq men to deliver the mail overland through a network of trails reaching the northern communities. In the 19th century the interior of the island was essentially a Mi’kmaq preserve and nothing illustrates this better than the decision by governments, geologists and sportsmen to rely on Mi’kmaqs to lead them through unfamiliar territory.

Threats to Mi’kmaq Life

That situation, however, would change with a growing population of European descent and with greater intrusion by this larger society into the interior. Perhaps the greatest threat to the Mi’kmaq way of life was the completion of a railway across the island in 1898. Now, for the first time, it was possible for large numbers of settlers and sportsmen to have quick access to the huge interior caribou herds. By all accounts the slaughter was appalling. Population figures for the caribou stocks can only be approximations, but it is estimated that the herds fell from 200,000-300,000 in 1900 to near extinction by 1930. The effect on the Mi’kmaq was catastrophic. Caribou meat had always been a mainstay of the Mi’kmaq diet, and with the decline of the herds it became much more difficult for families to live in the interior and to follow traplines. As a result, the 20th century brought new challenges and new hardships for the island’s Native people.

By the beginning of this century, the woods and barrens of the interior were becoming more crowded. Where once only Mi’kmaq had travelled, now there were settlers hunting, trapping, and fishing for salmon, and sportsmen and market hunters taking an increasing toll of the declining caribou herds. In 1905, the Newfoundland government gave the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Corporation a huge amount of land in the interior and a site on the Exploits River (Grand Falls) where the company built a large, modern mill. Logging crews not only cut over the country, they also accelerated the destruction of the caribou by killing them for meat.

Mi’kmaq culture as well as their economy came under attack in the first half of the 20th century. The Mi’kmaq had been Roman Catholics since the end of the 17th century and Newfoundland’s Mi’kmaq had maintained their ties with the church through visits to French priests in St. Pierre, off Newfoundland’s south coast, and to Cape Breton, especially for the July 26th feast of St. Anne. It is probable that as long as contacts between the church and the Mi’kmaq were brief and seasonal, the impact upon day-to-day life would not be traumatic. Things would change, however, with the arrival in the early 20th century of a priest at St. Alban’s, near Conne River. His attempts to eradicate “pagan” beliefs and practises, his high-handed dismissal of a Conne River leader, and his attempts to ban the use of Mi’kmaq created a resentment that persists in the community today.

Perhaps even more destructive to the Mi’kmaq way of life, however, was the decline of the world market for furs. A downward spiral of fur prices began in the 1920s and accelerated in the world depression of the 1930s. Although some Mi’kmaq were able to find work as loggers in the 1930s, the period was one of real hardship for most. World War II, however, brought a measure of improvement for some Mi’kmaq, as it did for many other Newfoundlanders. Some men joined the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit as loggers, while others took jobs with the Bowater’s pulpwood operations working in the Conne River area.

Reclaiming First Nations Rights

Nonetheless, in the 1950s and 1960s the living standard of Conne River appears to have fallen below that of their neighbours. While no one actually starved, in 1958, as one authority noted, “only 30 per cent [of Conne River’s people] were functionally literate” (Jackson 1993:168). Newfoundland’s Mi’kmaq received no federal benefits during this period because, when Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, the Mi’kmaq were not recognized as “status” Indians. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, Newfoundland Mi’kmaq were a part of a general movement by Aboriginal peoples throughout North America to reclaim their rights as First Nations. This might have been expected since the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq were experiencing some of the same difficulties encountered by Native people elsewhere. For example, older Mi’kmaq today from the west coast recount how their neighbours stigmatized them as “Jackatars”, and how some people hid their Native ancestry for fear of ridicule. In Conne River, the flooding resulting from the massive Bay d’Espoir hydroelectric project and the construction of new roads to the south coast further depleted the caribou hunting and fur trapping of the region. Partly in response to these factors, the people of Conne River elected a chief and band council in 1972; a year later Mi’kmaq from the entire province came together in an organization called The Federation of Newfoundland Indians, the purpose of which was to achieve recognition by the Federal government. In the 1970s, the Innu and Inuit split from the Federation to form their own organizations. While the Conne River community achieved federal status under the Indian Act in 1984, the quest for federal recognition for Mi’kmaq outside Conne River continues.

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Source: http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/aboriginal/mikmaq-history.php



The history of our people in Ktaqmkuk/Newfoundland is still very much in dispute. We believe we have always been here. Our detractors say we arrived around the early 1600s.

Because of lack of knowledge of relevant records that may yet come to light, it is very difficult to write a true history of the Saqamaq of Ktaqmkuk. Coupled with this is the fact that many of us trace our ancestry back through both L’nu and Innu tribal lines.

Some of the following we do know and some is conjecture based on available knowledge. The reader must also understand that ancient names have been interchanged often, with surname becoming first name and vice versa. Not to mention the many different ways the many different writers heard and recorded the names.

In Atlantic Kanata the Seven Districts of Mi’kma’ki were UNAMA’KIK (Cape Breton and Newfoundland), ESKI’KEWAQ, SIPEKNE’KATIK’IK and KESPUKWITK (collectively most of Nova Scotia); SIKNIKTEWAQ (New Brunswick); EPEKWITK AND PIKTUKEWAQ (Prince Edward Island and part of Mainland Nova Scotia) and KESPE’KEWAQ (Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec).

Most Mi’kmaq believe Kji Saqamaw Maupeltuk, born about 1510, was leader of all Mi’kma’ki. Kji Saqamaw Maupeltuk was baptized in 1610, becoming the first Indigenous North American to be baptized, and given the name Henri Membertou. He died in 1611.

Each district of Mi’kma’ki had a leader and (obviously) each nomadic group had their leader as well. The dynamics of leadership and its evolution as nomadic groups came together into villages will not be discussed here.

Ktaqmkuk originally was a part of the UNAMA’KIK District. Unama’kik is the Isle Royale/Cape Breton of modern history. The Saqamaw of Unama’kik was also the Saqamaw of Ktaqmkuk, St. Pierre and Miquelon.

We traditionally selected our Saqamaw in a most unique way. We had only male Saqamaw and we selected him by looking at his character.

The prime character trait of a prospective Saqamaw was, “He is more Mi’kmaq”. This meant that he spoke the language well, “acted” like a Mi’kmaw and practiced and defended our culture. A man did not have to “run” to be Saqamaw. People, “Just knew” who the Saqamaw was.

When selected our Saqamaw served us for life. Succession was hereditary through the male line but not necessarily so. Sometimes the “voice of the people” determined who our Saqamaw would be.

“Previous to Thoma the II’s death, he left the charge of his people to his own son-in-law, Francis Gregoire, in whose care he deposited the Ensigns of Royalty, charging him to act as their supreme until the choice is made and a Chief legally chosen to whom he shall deliver all the Royal property – it is said by some that a wish was expressed by the late chief to have his brother Christmas Thoma chosen as his successor, but it appears the family of the Googoes will lay claim to the throne they once held Dominion prior to Thoma the I, but for some reasons were supplanted by the Thoma family who owe their rise the voice of the tribe.” (Newspaper, Cape Bretonian, Sydney, January 23, 1834.)

“This Government is hereditary; it is not, however, the son of the reigning Chief who succeeds his father, but the son of his sister, or the first Princess of the blood. This policy is founded on the knowledge they have of the licentiousness of their women. They are not sure, they say, that the children of the chief’s wife may be of the blood Royal, whereas the son of the sister of the great Chief must be, at least on the side of the mother”. (Letter from Father le Petit, Missionary, to Father d’ Avaugour, Procurator of the Missions in North America. At New Orleans the 12th of July 1730. Jesuit Relations Vol. LXVII.)

Pere Lejeune . . .says that, [the Montagnais] like the Hurons…preferred the son of a sister to succeed the Chief rather than his own child. So well were they aware of the immorality of their wives”. (Explorations in the interior of the Labrador Peninsula: the country of the Montagnais and Nasquapee Indians; Hind, Henry Youle, 1823-1908. 335 pages. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1863.)

“They have thus developed into a custom the recital of their genealogies, both in the speeches they make at marriages, and also at funerals. This is in order to keep alive the memory, and to preserve by tradition from father to son, the history of their ancestors, and the example of [380] their fine actions and of their greatest qualities, something which would otherwise be lost to them, and would deprive them of a knowledge of their relationships, which they preserve by this means; and it serves to transmit their [family] alliances to posterity. On these matters they are very inquisitive, especially those descended from the ancient chiefs; this they sometimes claim for more than twenty generations, something which makes them more honoured by all the others.” (The description and natural history of the coasts of North America (Acadia) Denys, Nicolas, 1598-1688.; Ganong, William F. (William Francis), 1864-1941. 657 pages. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1908.)

The traditional succession of the Mi’kmaw Saqamaq in Ktaqmkuk came from the following families: Michau/Michel/Mitchell), Pequidalouet/Bernard, We’jitu/Isidore/Jeddore, and in recent history Joe and Lewis. There is also a connection to the Denny/Thomma chieftainship of Unama’kik. Some of these family members were in Ktaqmkuk in 1793[1].

Based on ancestry research the following are the Saqamaq who ruled over Mi’kama’kik and Ktaqmkuk. Included are some of their known and percieved relationships.

SAQAMAW WE’JITU.  Last year (1638) a Canadian Savage, the son of one Iwanchou, (We’jitu), a Savage Captain well known to the French, went to France and was very well received by his Majesty, at whose feet he laid his Crown of Porcelain beads as a sign that he recognized that great Prince, in the name of all these nations as their true and lawful Monarch. The King and Queen full of ardor for the salvation of these needy peoples showed him their Dauphin; and after many tokens of their kindness they made him a present of six suits of clothing truly royal. They were entirely of cloth of gold, velvet, satin, silk plush, scarlet, and everything else in keeping. (Jesuit Relations)

SAQAMAW DENIS. (Circa 1671) There is a reference that “The Chief of Richibouctou, named Denis is a conceited and vicious Indian. All the others of the Great Bay fear him[2]. Saqamaw Denis (Denny/Dennis) conceiveably is a relation/ancestor of the Denny and Thomma Saqamaq.

AQAMAW ISIDORUS. (Circa 1716) In a references to a Saqamaw of Unama’kik, Saqamaw Isidorus in 1716[3], he is described as  “ very simply dressed, has the impudence to assert that he and the King of France are comrades and he suffers the presence of the French on the island only because of the annual gifts he receives”. “He speaks French and is a most wily man”. Isidorus, Isadore, Jeddore are the various European spellings of We’jitu.

We’jitu Isidore was a great Indian who died, it is said, at the age of 113 years. In his young days he saw a vision, and afterwards became the most powerful person in the tribe [a Kinap, with great physical strength]. Made the men of his tribe great in athletic sports, so that they won from men of other tribes, in competitions. His camping ground was on the east side of First Dartmouth Lake, about half way or so up the lake. [The] name We’jitu apparently related to Isidore, and the Indians Jeddore were descendents of his. Noel Jeddore of Halifax [?] was his grandson. Joe Cope’s father, Peter Cope [born about 1816, died in 1913, aged 97 years] had seen We’jitu. (From Joseph C. Cope to Harry Piers, 14 January 1914. Nova Scotia Museum Printed File.) If Noel Jeddore was his grandson, his son must have been Ned Jeddore, also Ned Isidore. The Mi’kmaw word We’jitu means, “I found it,” which may relate to his vision.[4].

Around this period a relationship to all the present Saqamaq of Unama’kik and Ktaqmkuk reveals itself. That is to say, to the Googo, Denny, Jeddore and Mitchell Saqamaq and their descendents, the Joe, Marshall and other modern day Saqamaq. We know that relationships paid an immense part in who became early day Saqamaw.

We know the mother of Saqamaw Jeannot was Therese. They were in the same small group of people recorded in the 1708 census of Cape Breton as the Isidore family. Based on the ages and the fact that Saqamaw Jeannot did indeed become a Saqamaw later in life Therese was probably a daughter of the Isidore family.[5]

SAQAMAW MICHAU. Another relation shows up in 1751. DENIS MICHAU (DENNY MITCHELL/Michael Denny?) Chief of Isle Royale Mi’kmaq in 1750 died 1751. His grandfather [perhaps Jean Michau? (John Mitchell?)] had rendered great service to former king, Louis xiv, rewarded w/ letters of nobility. Denis left a widow and son who were placed in care of new chief Jeannot. (Charles Martijn).

It is very likely that this Michau is the ancestor of “Michel Agathe, Chief of Mi’kmaq of western Nfld.” and the Mitchell line of the west coast of Ktaqmkuk (NUJIO’QONIK, (“Where The Sand Blows” – St. George’s Bay area) and the Denny Kji Saqamaq of Eskasoni, Unama’kik.

It is possible the widow of Saqamaw Michau may have been a sister of Saqamaw Jeannot.

There is indication of a Googo line of Saqamaq in the obituary of Thom Thoma, a chief of the Mi’kmaw Nation printed in the Cape Bretonian newspaper in Sydney on January 23, 1834. “Previous to Thoma the II’s death, he left the charge of his people to his own son-in-law, Francis Gregoire, in whose care he deposited the Ensigns of Royalty, charging him to act as their supreme until the choice is made and a Chief legally chosen to whom he shall deliver all the Royal property- it is said by some that a wish was expressed by the late chief to have his brother Christmas Thoma chosen as his successor, but it appears the family of the Googoes will lay claim to the throne they once held Dominion prior to Thoma the I, but for some reasons were supplanted by the Thoma family who owe their rise to the voice of the tribe”.

The wife of Saqamaw Jeannot’s son Bernard was Mary Ann Googo. So this would give some credence to th Googo line having some connections to Chieftainship.

Between the reign of Saqamaw Michau and Saqamaw Jeannot, events that lead to Ktaqmkuk becoming a separate district unfolded. From 1744 to 1761 the English had groups of soldiers or Rangers out roaming the countryside just to search for and kill our people. On October 2, 1749, Governor Edward Cornwallis issued a proclamation to destroy our people. He offered 10 guineas for every Mi’kmaw man, woman and child killed and later raised this to 50 pounds.

In 1755, the English began expelling our Acadian friends and allies. Earlier when it was not cool to be a Mi’kmaq our François friends sheltered us and now when it began to be uncool to be a Françoise, we returned the favor. Approximately one-third of the Françoise population moved to New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and other French or Mi’kmaq territory such as Ktaqmkuk.

In 1756 Governor Lawrence of NS proclaimed a bounty for the scalps of our people again: 30 pounds for males over 16 years, 25 pounds for a scalp of males over 16 and 25 pounds for every woman and child brought in alive. As a result, up to 1780 many of our Saqamaq simply “disappeared”. Saqamaw Jeannot survived by fleeing to the far reaches of our Mi’kmaw domain – Ktaqmkuk.

SAQAMAW JEANNOT PEQUIDALOUET. Saqamaw Jeannot was born around 1705, probably in Unama’kik. He was our Saqamaw over Unama’kik and Ktaqmkuk from 1750 to 1778. He had trapping areas in Ktaqmkuk. The French governor of Cape Breton appointed him First Captain of the Mi’kmaw contingent at Louisbourg on November 8, 1750. He became Saqamaw of the former Mirliquêche Band which soon moved to Chapel Island. In 1758 he was wounded at he siege of Louisbourg. On July 1, 1761, he was one of the Saqamaq who signed the Treaty of Halifax, reaffirming the earlier 1725 Treaty. He was in Ktaqmkuk much of the time between 1763 and 1778. [Jeannot Pekitaulit {Peguidalouet) and Bernard, Chiefs of Mi’kmaq of Cape Breton, on board Lark, off Codroy, September, renew Treaty of Peace with his majesty [a copy whereof I have already sent you]; Captain Samuel Thompson to Philip Stevens, Secretary to the Lords of the Admiralty, April 16, 1764. Admiralty Records, London, 1/2590.  Saqamaw Jeannot’s date and place of death is not known at this time, but he is believed to have lived to be 102 and may well have died in Ktaqmkuk.

Ktaqmkuk probably became a separate district from Unama’kik with the appearance of Saqamaw Michel. We recognize the following Lnu’k as being the Saqamaw of all of Ktaqmkuk. This is different from the newer osition of “Administrative Saqamaw” which has been thrust upon us by the “Politics” of 1986/87.

SAQAMAW MICHEL. There is a reference to Saqamaw Michel/Mitchell in the St. Pierre Baptism records. [July 4, 1848. Burial of Pierre Agathe, 13, son of Michel Agathe, Chief of Mi’kmaq of western Nfld. and of Louise]. Matthew Mitchell a descendent of the “old Chieftain Line” had a trapping line that included King George IV Lake and “elsewhere at will”.[6] Although dates vary, Saqamaw Michel may have died December 12, 1842. The commander [Alphonse-Joseph Desrousseaux, chef de la colonie] advised the Department that the Chief of a band from the west of Newfoundland known as King Michel Agathe” who came to Saint-Pierre with more than one hundred people of his tribe, at the beginning of this month, to make their annual devotions, was lost with all his people and goods, in a squall, while returning home.[7]

SAQAMAW MULISE (MAURICE LOUIS). Saqamaw Maurice “was born in the year 1802 at Piona in Unama’kik. He first came to Ktaqmkuk in 1815 A.D. He married a “Newfoundland woman” Sarah Bernard, in 1839. His Lordship Bishop (?) appointed him Chief in power in the year 1860 A.D. He “received his leadership from Second Grand Chief at Sidney, NS, on July 21, 1860”.Saqamaw Maurice was given a gold medal as a sign of his position. On the medal is the inscription, “Presented to the Chief of the Micmac Indians of Newfoundland”. He died in 1880. “Of this said Maurice Louis one daughter still living at Conne (1936). Before his time there were two families living at Conne (namely Jeddore)”. He was married to Sarah Bernard. His parents were John Lewis and Nancy Basque. In one historical account he is referred to as Louis Morris.

It was while Saqamaw Mulise was in office that in 1870 when there was now a steady stream of immigrating nation’s peoples onto our coastal territory that our reserve was surveyed by Howley and established.

There is no account at present why Maurice Lewis was selected Saqamaw. He may have been an only son. Gisborno stated that two daughters of John Lewis went with Rev Bishop Dr. Mullock to St. John’s to train as teachers. Unfortunately the city diet took its toll and they both died there.

The only indication as shown above is that he was appointed to the position by the Bishop of the day. His wife, Sarah Bernard, may have been descendent from the Peguidalouet line with a probable reversal of the Bernard Peguidalouet surname. Another possibility was that he was a descendant of the Innu line of Morris that married into the Lewis/Louis line or a descendent of the Meuse Chieftain line of PEI. The fact that there were two lines of the interchangeable Lewis/Louis surname adds some confusion to the investigation.

According to Howley, Saqamaw Mulise’s father was “one of the party of Micmacs who accompanied Cormack”. Of John Lewis, Gisborno said, he has the “Finest home in Conne”.

Saqamaw Mulise appears to have had seven daughters and one son, Lupe’n (Reuben). When the time came for passing on of the mantle of Saqamaw there was no doubt as to who would succeed him.

Saqamaw-to-be Lupe’n had a drinking problem however and although he was twenty-eight years of age at the time and plenty of life experiences to assume leadership, our people refused him until he mended his ways. We selected Joe Bernard as caretaker Saqamaw in the meantime.

SAQAMAW JOE BERNARD. Saqamaw Joe was born in 1812 and died in 1900. He “ruled as Chief from Maurice’s death (1880) until Reuben took office (1900 A.D.)”. Kji Saqamaw John Denys (Denny) swore in Saqamaw Joe Bernard in 1880. According to the Holy Cross Annual, 2nd edition, he “…was a mountaineer Indian from Labrador. He wore a full flowing beard, which the Micmacs did not do”. He married a (Innu?) woman, (Hannah Ann John?). Bernard’s Brook is named after him. His sister Sarah was married to Maurice Lewis and this may have qualified him to act as qualify as Saqamaw, officially or otherwise, or he may have been related to the Lewis family /Louis family and the Morris line both, who appears to have been from Labrador.

SAQAMAW LUPE’N. (REUBEN LEWIS; MILLIAS spelt it as “OLIBIA”).Saqamaw Lupe’n was born in 1852. On the death of Saqamaw Joe, the “…nephew of Maurice Louis (Lewis), was made Chief at Sidney, NS by Grand Chief John Denny in the year 1900. Because of his drinking habit, Saqamaw Lupe’n was not invested as Saqamaw until 1907. Saqamaw Lupe’n died on December 1, 1918.

The selection of a Saqamaw to replace Saqamaw Lupe’n was not without some turmoil. There is some indication Saqamaw Lupe’n may have had an association with a non-native woman and had a son. This son could not become Saqamaw, as there were others who were “more Mi’kmaq”. Most of his sisters either had no children that we know of or had married men with non-native ancestry on one side of their family. Nancy Ann had married George Benoit (Of mixed ancestry). Catherine married a Matthews. (If she had any children, they would have been of “Royal Blood” and supposedly in line for the Saqamaw position. Christine had married a Nortcott but was having an association with Edward Poulette so the purity/certainty of her children’s blood was in doubt. Louise had married Peter Stride (Of mixed ancestry). Madeline was crippled and never married. Julia had married John Benoit (Of mixed ancestry). Saqamaw Lu’pen’s sister Harriett had married Steve Joe.

Although Steve’s mother was also a Benoit, Harriet’s child Antle was the “more Mi’kmaq” and so next in line to be our Saqamaw. It was not an unknown occurrence for the son of a Saqamaw’s sister to become Saqamaw. In ancient times a Saqamaw often preferred that the son of a sister would succeed him rather than his own child because there could never be any doubt of the bloodline of his sister, whereas as a result of the times the bloodline of his wife’s child may or may not be in doubt.

At this time our people had been pushed off most our coastal land in and around Baie d’ Espoir and into a single settlement, Miawpukek; and the office of Saqamaw, according to John N. Jeddore, was all but ignored except by traditionalists like the Jeddore’s and Joe’s and some elder settlers. The position of Saqamaw was not all that appealing and Antle was also too young to assume leadership. We selected Saqamaw Newell (Noel Jeddore) as another caretaker Saqamaw.

SAQAMAW NEWELL. (Newell Jeddore spelt his surname as GIETOL; MILLIAS spelt it as “GEODOL”.- Both spellings are a corruption of the original We’jitu). Saqamaw Newell was born on December 18, 1865 and died on May 14, 1944. A direct descendent of Saqamaw We’jitu, he “was made Chief at Conne River, by Rev. P.F. Adams and Rev. S. St. Croix, P.P. on July 26, 1919” and according to an affidavit signed by (Joe Jeddore?), he recognized that his office would last until Saqamaw-in-waiting Antle was old enough[8] to assume leadership. He was married to Dinah Morris. His parents were Nicholas Jeddore and Ann Benoit.

Our people looked to Newell as Saqamaw and treated him as such. How Saqamaw Newell became an exiled leader is much better known than how/why he was selected to lead.

Saqamaw Newell had “Royal Blood”, being a direct descendent of the famous Mi’kmaw Saqamaw We’jitu. Although his bloodline was not pure Mi’kmaw, his lifestyle and leadership abilities made him “more Mi’kmaq” and thus well qualified to assume leadership. He was half-brother to Saqamaw Antle’s father Stephen. He wasalso Saqamaw Lupe’ns’ hunting buddy and at one time had saved him from a mauling by a wounded bear.

The fact that his leadership qualities made him “more Mi’kmaw” was proven quite quickly in his leadership. Around this time the position of Saqamaw had become pretty well entrenched to be that of a prayer leader instead of as a political position or dispute settler. Just five years into his leadership, circumstances came to such a head, that events would unfurl that would rock our Nation’s leadership to it’s very core.

His Grandson John Nick Jeddore best recounts this story:

The priest (Rev. Stanlius St. Croix) could only visit Conne irregularly and people didn’t know when he would get here. As always prayer leaders in the village led prayers devotedly every time they were needed. Mi’kmaq prayed daily and Sunday especially.

Usually after prayers people went about their business, which often times took them away from the village. Now and again after prayers were said and people had gone about their business, Fr. St. Croix would show up.

Apparently Father St. Croix got upset about people holding prayer service. He said that every time he came to Conne to have mass, people wouldn’t show up. The reason they wouldn’t go to mass was because they  “Already had prayers”. So he told the people not to have any more prayers in the church.

When Saqamaw Noel Jeddore and some Mi’kmaq were discussing this, Noel said something like, “ If you stop the people from saying their prayers, they will get worse and worse, they will become more and more sinful each day and do bad things. They could even commit very serious sins like murder.”

{          } heard this and told Father St. Croix about it. Like any time a story gets told, sometimes the real meaning gets mixed up [as it gets passed from mouth to mouth]. {          } is supposed to have said something like, “Noel is down to Conne saying all kinds of things. He is even talking about people murdering people.”

However Father St. Croix interpreted {          }’s story, he apparently thought that since this was all about his orders that the people stop having prayers in church, then Noel could only have been talking about murdering him.

Father St. Croix was obviously thinking about this situation a lot. Later on  {          } was up to St. Alban’s and Father St. Croix told him to tell Peter, Noel’s son, to come up because he wanted to see him.

As the story goes, {          } then came back to Conne and starting at Burnt Woods he went into all the houeholds and told the people there as well as everyone that he met “That you got to go to St. Alban’s. Father St. Croix wants to see you!”

Like all good and religious people, when your priest asks you to come see him you do so. So they all began walking up to St. Alban’s across the ice. Apparently Father St. Croix saw all these people coming across the ice up to St. Alban’s. He obviously thought the earlier story was correct, because here were coming all the Mi’kmaw, and they must be coming to kill him. He immediately sent out Phil Willcott and some other men, to make peace and probably slow down the people, while he telegraphed the Police.

Phil Willcott and them went out and met the people. When the people heard that Father St. Croix only wanted to see Peter, they all turned back.

Peter went to see Father St. Croix. Peter must have been able to explain to Father St. Croix what his father said. But Father St. Croix said to peter, “It’s too late now. I already summoned the police. You got to force your father to leave Conne because the police are coming to get him.”

In them days, if you summoned the police, they didn’t come right away. Depending on the time of the year, it could take them a few months to get there.

Peter came home and told all this to his father. Noel did not want to go. It wasn’t really a problem if he did go. His daughter Agnes and his son Victor were already up there. He himself like many of the people of that time was going back and forth to Nova Scotia all the time. Noel Louis used to go up there every summer.

For whatever reason, Noel finally decided to leave. So the following summer, in 1945 he left Conne forever and went to live in Exile in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia.

Saqamaw Newell was our last “official” Saqamaw of Ktaqmkuk for the longest time. When he left Ktaqmkuk andwent to Escasonick (Eskasoni) “quite a few Mi’kmaq left with him”. He put the “Chief’s Medal” on the statue of St. Ann in our church. Oral history says that on his putting the medal on the statue, his words were: “I might be leaving, but the (Chief’s) medal stays”. Ironically, future traditional Saqamaw William Joe was born just a few months before Saqamaw Newell went into exile.

The position of Saqamaw was never “officially” filled again until 1975, but for the record the “Unofficial” Saqamaq for the following years were as follows

SAQAMAW ANTLE. (ANDREW) JOE. (Born November 1889, died April 20, 1960). Saqamaw-to-be was never officially appointed as Saqamaw. Oral history says that the priest who now figured he had power and control with the leaving of Saqamaw Newell, asked Saqamaw Andrew to accept the Chief’s medal, but Saqamaw Antle refused. According to Holy Cross Annual, 2nd Edition, 1951: “Andrew Joe was next in line for the Chieftainship but this time he refused the honor, so the medal was hung on the statue of St. Ann…”

JOE JEDDORE. (Born August 1883, died April 11, 1956). We looked upon Saqamaw Newell’s brother as our Saqamaw or prayer leader after Saqamaw Newell went into exile. However, he was never officially appointed to the position of Saqamaw either. It was Joe Jeddore that led the prayers in his own home when there was no priest in the community. He served our people from 1925 to 1954.

PIEL (PETER FRANCIS) JEDDORE. (Born May 1892, died 1971). Piel, Saqamaw Newell’s son was looked upon as Saqamaw after his Uncle’s death. Again he was never “Officially appointed”. He served our people from 1954 until his death in 1971 making many prominent public defenses of our rights to our land and resources. Saqamaw Piel also served overseas with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during World War I.

Excerpts from various interviews with Saqamaw Piel Jeddore, regarding position of Saqamaw in Ktaqmkuk:

(MUN Folklore interview in 1969 by Professor John Hewson)

“That’s the last man wear that medal, my father. He was the Chief. That medal now hung up…Chief. That medal with it, local Mi’kmaq… The Chief going to put that medal on… New Year Day put that medal on. And everybody will go for that Chief, and kiss that medal and swear that it will be same rule. What they carrying on, next man, yes, same thing. The next twelve month come again, put it on again. And they’ll come and swear for another twelve month to carry on same…same rule”.

“When I could remember, that’s, will we’ll say, man was 17, he could remember anything from that then, since I could remember. Maurice Lewis was the Chief. And …no longer was Chief. When he died, Joe Bernard took the Chief. He was a Chief”.

“…So when Joe Bernard died, Reuben Lewis took the Chief, see. He was the Chief. Some length of time, well, a big flu came in. I was in the army then, 1917-18”.

“And Reuben Lewis died and me father…not me father, Andrew Joe, Lewis he was. He was a Lewis too. Suppose to take it see. He belong to the Lewis see, all the time. Now he was too young. Now he hands it over to me father, see. He take it to be Chief. So me father was Chief until he went Sydney see. When he left the place and went Sydney to live”.

“And that medal been there to St. Ann. Hang upon the child. And there it is now”.

“And Bishop asked me three or four times, be Chief.  I said No. I wouldn’t be a Chief”.

“The first man wear that medal, that’s Maurice Lewis. I was only seventeen. (1909). Then Joe Bernard, Then Reuben Lewis, then my father. [?].…been up in the church since old man went away; that’s forty years now”.

“There was a long chain (on the medal)… But somebody robbed the chain”.

MUN Folklore interview in 1967 by Mrs. Stoker and Allan Brake, from west coast of Nfld.]

“You have to read it for us”; [Peter Jeddore, reading…] “July the…[reads in Mi’kmaw]…July 12, 1920…Noel Jeddore appointed me Chief in Mi’kmaq Reserve…”

“Now, he the one who went over to Nova Scotia?” “Yes, he was over in Nova Scotia, that where he was Head Man to the Chief, in Nova Scotia…he come here and he live here then until he move over to Sydney, that’s where he die, in Sydney”.

“Then who followed him?” “Nobody…it was my place but I wouldn’t take it …”

The office of Saqamaw remained vacant to 1980. In 1972 while Melvin Jeddore and Martin Jeddore were attempting to reorganize our government silently and with the assistance of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, a misguided attempt was made to organize a local government based on the municipality’s model.

In 1973 John N. Jeddore was elected as the President of Conne River Native Council and in 1974 the Local Improvement Council of Conne River was left by the wayside.

President John N. Jeddore. (Born 1922 -). He served us from 1973 to 1974. Saqamaw Peter’s son, he was, in a departure from traditional ways, “elected” our Saqamaw or President of a very non-traditional political organization in 1973. This was a time when we once again began to reassert our rights to our own political leadership. President John N. was never officially appointed and resigned in 1974, because “The structure being organized and the title of President did not fit Mi’kmaw society”.

President Walter John, (September 15, 1926 -), was our first Saqamaw or President of Innu decent. He served us from 1974 to 1975. He was elected in the same non-Lnu tradition. He resigned in 1975. He was never officially appointed.

SAQAMAW WILLIAM JOE. (Born March 8, 1925, died December 23, 1982). Saqamaw Antle’s son, he was selected as Community Saqamaw in 1975 and re-selected in 1976. In 1978, during his term we decided that the position of Saqamaw would once again follow our traditional Mi’kmaw way. This meant Saqamaw Joe would be Saqamaw for life. Kji Saqamaw Donald Marshall “Officially” appointed him Saqamaw in 1980. The “Chief’s Medal” was once again worn by our traditional Saqamaw. He served until his accidental death in December 1982.

SAQAMAW MISE’L JOE. Continuing to follow tradition, with the slight departure of using secret ballot, Saqamaw Mise’l was selected Saqamaw on January 7, 1983. He serves as Saqamaw for all of Ktaqmkuk, and presently also serves as the elected “Administrative Saqamaw” of MIAWPUKEK Nation, a Keptin in the Grand Council and spiritual leader of Miawpukek Mi’kmaq traditionalists. He was “re-selected” to the position of Community Saqamaw in 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000.

In April 1988 conflict between high-level employees and the leadership of Miawpukek First Nation erupted and overflowed into the community. People took sides as the community and families split into two camps and the troubles or as some referred to it, “The Politics”, began. It wasn’t until the selection on June 13, 1990, of Administrative Saqamaw Shayne McDonald, Great Grandson of Saqamaw Antle and nephew of Traditional Saqamaw William Joe that peace, to a degree returned to our Nation.

Administrative Saqamaw Shayne’s selection was followed in June 1992, by the selection of Geraldine Kelly daughter of Saqamaw William Joe, as Administrative Saqamaw. On June 4, 1994 Traditional Saqamaw Mise’l was again selected to serve his people.

Supporting information to some of the above may be found in “an old book held by Joseph Jeddore” and mentioned in the yearly publication of St, Ignatius School, called Holy Cross Annual, Second Edition, 1951.

Additionally some information came from Newfoundland and It’s Untrodden Ways, by J.G. Millais, Longmans, Green and Co,., Copyright 1907 and reprinted by Abercrombie & Fitch Co., New York. Copyright 1967.

[1] Council Minutes for Cape Breton dated September 9th, 1794, at Sydney (Cape Breton Island), contains the following information: . Joseph Tomma said that he went last year [1793] to Newfoundland and prevailed upon these families to come with him to this island [Cape Breton].

[2] Nicholas Denny. The Description and Natural History of the Coasts of North America (Acadia) 1908:451

[3] Chancels de Lagrange. “Voyage made to the Isle Royale or Cape Breton Island in Canada in 1716 aboard the frigate Atalante commanded by M. de Courbon St. Leger”. In Revue D’Histoire de L’Amerique Francaise. Vol XIII, No. 3. 1959:424 (From The Old Man Told Us)

[4] From Joseph C. Cope to Harry Piers, 14 January, 1914. Nova Scotia Museum Printed File. (From The Old Man Told Us)

[5] General Census made in the month of November 1708, of the Indians of Acadia who reside on the East Coast…” by Pere LaChasse. Edward E. Ayer Collection, Ayer MS71, Newberry Library, Chicago. (From The Old Man Told Us)

[6] “Beothuk and Micmac, Speck, p.222

[7] Emile Sasco and Joseph Lehuenen. Ephemerides des Iles St.-Pierre et Miquelon. 1970:12. Translated for The Old Man Told Us by Margaret Ann Hamelin.

[8] A signed statement of this information mentioned I the Holy Cross Annual, 1961, signed by Joseph Jeddore and witnessed by John Denny Jeddore and John Benoit Sr. was sent to P.W. Browne, D.D Ph. D., Department of History, Catholic University of America, 1406 Lawrence St., Brooklyn, USA.

The Beothuk are the aboriginal people of the island of Newfoundland. They were Algonkian-speaking hunter-gatherers who probably numbered less than a thousand people at the time of European contact. The Beothuk are the descendants of a Recent Indian culture called the Little Passage Complex.

The Migratory Fishery and the Beothuk

The arrival of migratory European fishermen in the 16th century may have provided new opportunities for the Beothuk. These fishermen erected stages, flakes and wharves during the summer fishery, but after they left the island to return to Europe, they left behind nails, lost fish hooks, and scraps of iron and kettle. Evidence from a number of Beothuk sites indicates that the Beothuk picked up these metal objects and reworked them into arrowheads, lance points, harpoon end blades, awls and hide scrapers.

Everywhere else in North America, native people were usually eager to trade furs for metal cutting and piercing tools. The Beothuk, however, had the unusual opportunity to acquire such goods without having to exchange furs for them. This meant that they did not have to modify their traditional way of life by expending effort in the winter hunting fur-bearing animals such as lynx, marten, and the like–animals that provided little in the way of edible meat. Similarly, unlike the Mi’kmaq of the mainland, the Beothuk did not have to congregate at designated harbours to await the arrival of fur traders. This strategy often meant that the assembled Indians would quickly exhaust local supplies of game. By contrast, the Beothuk could make a quick trip to an abandoned European fishing station to acquire the desired metal goods.

The Beothuk acquired great skill at refashioning these objects into useful tools which would have considerably increased the efficiency of their hunting technology. Iron arrow heads were much tougher than those of stone and were easily re-sharpened. Iron harpoon blades would also have been much more effective than those tipped with stone.

European Settlement

While the Beothuk were able to coexist with, and probably to benefit from, a migratory fishery, the beginning of year-round settlement in the 17th century meant the onset of drastic change. As the French established a base at Placentia, and English settlement extended from Conception Bay to Trinity Bay and then Bonavista Bay, the Beothuk withdrew from European contact. Lacking the contacts with traders, missionaries and Indian agents that were characteristic of the mainland experience, the Beothuk became increasingly isolated.

After the middle of the 18th century, as the growth of English settlement increased, the Beothuk were increasingly denied access to the vital resources of the sea. In addition, the emergence of Newfoundland furriers, or trappers, meant that the Beothuk were now increasingly competing with white Europeans who were familiar with the Newfoundland interior. The presence of trap parts in 18th and early 19th-century Beothuk sites is clear evidence of the Beothuk practice of taking furriers’ traps–a practice which inevitably brought retaliation.

By the beginning of the 19th century, the Beothuk were reduced to a small refugee population living along the Exploits River system and attempting to subsist on the inadequate resources of the interior. Although a succession of Newfoundland governors had, since the middle of the 18th century, attempted to establish friendly contact with the Beothuk, it was probably too late to change a pattern which had existed for perhaps 250 years. Shanawdithit, the last known Beothuk, died in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1829.

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Source: http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/aboriginal/beothuk-disappearance.php