|Demasduit's Portrait painted by Lady Henrietta Hamilton|
| Nonosabasut Rock
Long before John Cabot made his voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to discover Newfoundland in 1497, there was already a group of people living there called the Beothuk. After the Europeans began to settle in Newfoundland the Beothuk were forced from the coastlines where there was a lot of food, to the Newfoundland interior where they were unable to find enough food. Also, a lot died from violent fights with the Europeans and many of the Beothuks died from diseases such as tuberculosis. By the year 1829 when the last known surviving member of the Beothuk people, Shanawdithit, died the Beothuk were extinct.
The Beothuk are a part of our history. They are represented on our townís crest. They are even on our school crest. Bradley, Conor, Tyler, Zackery, and Jacobís hockey team was called the Beothuks. The Beothuk rode their birchbark canoes up and down the Exploits River that flows through our town. We even have a museum in our town thatís located a slapshot away from our school named after one of the Beothuk people, Mary March. But that wasnít her real name. Her real name was Demasduit, a really beautiful name. In 1819 John Peyton Junior captured her and when her husband tried to protect her and their newborn child, he got killed. His name was Nonosabasut and he was a Beothuk chief. Nonosabasutís brother also got killed. Demasduitís newborn baby died two days after she was captured. After they captured Demasduit they gave her the name March for the month she was captured in, and Mary because it was a common name.
During the Centennial Celebrations Ms. Warr took pictures of a rock in the Exploits River that has two distinct faces. She enlarged it for us so we could see the faces more clearly. When our class saw the skull of Nonosabasut on the documentary about the Beothuk people entitled "Stealing Mary" that aired recently on the History Channel, we all noticed the resemblance of Nonosabasutís skull to one of the faces. The resemblance is uncanny, and the funny part about it is Nonosabasut may have passed this rock lots of times as he portaged from around Sanger Park to the river close to Grand Falls House to get pass the Grand Falls. Our class had a great idea! Since there is a mountain, Mount Peyton, named after Mr. Peyton, why not a rock named after the Beothuk Chief, Nonosabasut?
First Megan Price's grandfather, Paul Hennessy, checked around for us to see if it already had a name. He contacted a lot of people for us and nobody heard of a name for the rock. So, we all wrote letters to Mayor Rex Barnes and his councillors telling why we thought the rock should be named Nonosabasut Rock. They all thought it was a wonderful idea. Like our teacher always says, we cannot right the wrong that was done to the Beothuk people, especially Nonosabasutís family. But we can start by giving back to Demasduit her real name by renaming the museum to reflect her real name, and to recognize the heroic deed of her husband by having a likeness of him for people to see, the Nonosabasut Rock.
Anthony Subject (2005-2006)
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