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Last of the Beothuk (Amazing Stories)

Last of the Beothuk (Amazing Stories)

The arrival of Europeans in the New World forever changed the fate of the Beothuk. As more settlers arrived, the Beothuk were forced inland. They were tracked, abducted, and even murdered. Their plight was epitomized by the tragic story of Shanawdithit the last of the Beothuk.


James Carey, a trapper from Twillingate thought he was alone when he first sighted some figures further down the shore of Badger Bay. They were just moving out of the shelter of the forest. He stiffened. Are they friendly? Or are they hostile "savages"?

On this cold January morning of 1823, he had reason to be uneasy. He had boasted over many a pint of ale that he always killed any "Red Indians" who strayed into his path. Thieving nuisances. He thought of them as less than human. Being quite ruthless excited him.

Squinting against the glare of the snow he fired a warning shot over their heads. He knew from experience that if they were Red Indians they would most likely run. These "savages" were deathly afraid of firearms. But what could a man expect? They were brutes - scarcely more than animals - and much more sport to hunt.

He was shocked when the two figures continued to advance without apparent fear. Yes. They were from the Red Indian tribe, their clothes and faces were heavily stained with greasy red mud. When he realized they were making directly for him he turned back, in panic, towards the cabin where his partner Stephen Adams waited.

"Adams!" he screamed with genuine fear. "Out here! Indians!"

Adams raced out to join him, and they stood with their guns lined up, waiting for the attack. As far as they could see, there were only the two, it looked like an older man with a young woman. The bully in James came to the fore as he estimated the odds. They were walking slowly, as if they had very little strength. "A ruse," he thought sarcastically. Both trappers motioned the two Beothuk to keep back, but they kept coming.

"More fool them, then... They asked for it!"

Within seconds the two Beothuk lay dead in the snow. 

About the Author

Barbara Whitby is a freelance writer in Halifax. She developed a life-long fascination with the Beothuk story after she immigrated to Canada from England in 1960. Now retired; she hikes, belly dances, acts as a film extra, and enjoys life as a great-grandmother. Through writing and the occasional radio broadcast, she shares her ardent interest in history, spirituality, healing, and travel.

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