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Demasduit

"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 of Twillingate.

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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.

Demasduit Resources

Here are some links to online information about Demasduit:
 Demasduwit
 Wikipedia: Demasduit

And here are our webpages about the Beothuk tribe and language:
 Beothuk language
 Red Indian history
 Demasduit and the Beothuks
 Beothuk numbers
 The Algonquians
 Canadian Indians
 Subarctic natives



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