Welcome to the Rock. Do you want some taken up?
An interesting phrase here in Newfoundland. Basically, can I get you some supper? Always on my bucket list of places to visit. Well, I’ve arrived. Todays blog is a little autobiographical, and a little informative, most importantly accurate. Let’s investigate a little history first.
Long settled by indigenous peoples of the Dorset culture, the island was visited by the Icelandic explorer Leif Eriksson in the 11th century, who called the new land “Vinland“. The next European visitors to Newfoundland were Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch and English migratory fishermen and whalers. The island was visited by the Genoese navigator John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto), working under contract to King Henry VII of England on his expedition from Bristol in 1497. In 1501, Portuguese explorers Gaspar Corte-Real and his brother Miguel Corte-Real charted part of the coast of Newfoundland in a failed attempt to find the Northwest Passage. After European settlement, colonists first called the island Terra Nova, from “New Land” in Portuguese and Latin. The name Newfoundland in popular discourse came from people discussing the “New founde land” in the new world.
The first inhabitants of Newfoundland were the Paleo-Eskimo, who have no known link to other groups in Newfoundland history. Little is known about them beyond archeological evidence of early settlements. Evidence of successive cultures have been found. The Late Paleo-Eskimo, or Dorset culture, settled there about 4,000 years ago. They were descendants of migrations of ancient prehistoric peoples across the High Arctic thousands of years ago, after crossing from Siberia via the Bering land bridge. The Dorset died off or abandoned the island prior to the arrival of the Norse.
After this period, the Beothuk settled Newfoundland, migrating from Labrador on the mainland. There is no evidence that the Beothuk inhabited the island prior to Norse settlement. Scholars believe that the Beothuk are related closely to the Innu of Labrador. The tribe later was declared “extinct” although people of partial Beothuk descent have been documented. The name Beothuk meant ‘people’ in the Beothuk language, which is often considered to be a member of the Algonquian language family although the lack of sufficient records means that it is not possible to confidently demonstrate such a connection.
The tribe is now typically said to be extinct, but evidence of its culture is preserved in museum, historical and archaeological records. Shanawdithit, a woman who is often regarded as the last full-blood Beothuk, died in St. John’s in 1829 of tuberculosis. However, Santu Toney, who was born around 1835 and died in 1910, was a woman of mixed Mi’kmaq and Beothuk descent, which means that some Beothuk must have lived on beyond 1829. She described her father as Beothuk and mother as Mi’kmaq, both from Newfoundland. The Beothuk may have intermingled and assimilated with Innu in Labrador and Mi’kmaq in Newfoundland. European histories also suggest potential historical competition and hostility between the Beothuk and Mi’kmaq, though this is refuted by indigenous oral history. The Mi’kmaq, Innu and Inuit all hunted and fished around Newfoundland but no evidence indicates that they lived on the island for long periods of time and would only travel to Newfoundland temporarily. Inuit have been documented on the Great Northern Peninsula as late as the 18th-Century. Newfoundland was historically the southernmost part of the Inuit’s territorial range.
When Europeans arrived from 1497 and later, starting with John Cabot, they established contact with the Beothuk. Estimates of the number of Beothuk on the island at this time vary, typically around 700.
Later both the English and French settled the island. They were followed by the Mi’kmaq, an Algonquian-speaking indigenous people from eastern Canada and present-day Nova Scotia. As European and Mi’kmaq settlement became year-round and expanded to new areas of the coast, the area available to the Beothuk to harvest the marine resources they relied upon was diminished. By the beginning of the 19th century, few Beothuk remained. Most died due to infectious diseases carried by Europeans, to which they had no immunity, and starvation. Government attempts to engage with the Beothuk and aid them came too late. The Beothuk did not have friendly relations with foreigners, unlike the Mi’kmaq. The latter readily traded with Europeans and became established in settlements in Newfoundland.
A snippet of a menu we prepared for a small group at the SugarHill Inn, Norris Point, NL. The available foods here are actually very bountiful, much to my surprise. They may not have access to some of the more unusual tools and tricks at our avail, in lets say Ontario or BC. But, there is enough. Foraging, gardening and self sustainability is still very much alive in this province. 90% of the menu ingredients above were sourced locally…some I found in the back gardens and forest. This is real food….Canadian food. The thing I love most about my latest digs, is the peacefulness and tranquility. The people are the most friendly, accommodating folks I have met in this country to date. A little reminiscent of other countries I have visited outside of Canada. In my humble opinion, “Newfies” are the best face we can put on how we are perceived internationally. So that’s a wrap for today. One small marketing push before I go….I’d like to thank Blue host, the company that maintains this site for us. Excellent hosting company, very reasonable and great customer service. Looking for your own “legitimate” website? Check them out! Happy Sunday!!