Native American languages
Native Americans information website
Native American heritage
"Demasduit" was the name of one of the last surviving members of the Beothuk tribe of Newfoundland.
Demasduit became famous when she was captured by colonial trappers in 1819 and brought back to the white community
The circumstances of her capture are a bit murky-- according to some, the trappers were intentionally
sent to capture a Beothuk woman for the colony to use as a go-between, whereas others say that their intention was only to
recover a stolen boat and that Demasduit simply surrendered to them when she found herself too weak to flee with the other
tribesmen. When she eventually managed to convey what had happened to her, it turned out that Demasduit had given birth
not long before the raid, that her husband had been killed by the trappers, and that her newborn son had been left behind
when she was captured. The British military attempted to return her to her people, but she
died of tuberculosis before they could be reunited. Her
body was returned to them, however, and according to her niece Shanawdithit (generally considered the last of the Beothuks),
Demasduit was buried alongside her husband and infant son.
Books about Demasduit
Demasduit: Native Newfoundlander:
Biography of Demasduit for sale online.
History and Ethnography of the Beothuks:
Excellent history book including a detailed account of Demasduit's life and captivity.
All Gone Widdun:
Historical fiction book about the lives of Shanawdithit and Demasduit.
Here are some links to online information about Demasduit:
And here are our webpages about the Beothuk tribe and language:
Red Indian history
Demasduit and the Beothuks
Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015 Contacts and FAQ page
Back to our Native American encyclopedia
Would you like to help support our organization's work with Demasduit's language?