We followed the Exploits River downstream, north beyond The Bay of Exploits where it meets the sea, and stopped in at the Beothuk Interpretation Centre Provincial Historic Site on the shores of Boyd’s Cove.
The site marks the spot of one of the last settlements of the Beothuk people, and most of what little is known about them can be found here.
They were known as the Red Indians to the early European settlers, not for their skin color but for their practice of covering themselves with red ochre, a dye made from the iron colored soil.
The Beothuk did their best to avoid contact with the new arrivals, just as they had done with the Mi’kmaq who would frequently cross over to Newfoundland from the mainland, so much of their background remains a mystery.
It is likely that they were the people the Vikings encountered at L’Anse aux Meadows and named skraelings, or barbarians, but we may never know for sure.
What we did learn came mostly from Shanawdithit, who was the last known Beothuk survivor before she passed away in 1829.
The drawings and interviews she provided during the last years of her life are by far the best resource for information on her people’s lives, and seeing them was without a doubt the highlight of our visit to the centre.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com