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The painful memories

by Shanawdithit

Shanawdithit (ca. 1801 – June 6, 1829), also noted as Shawnadithititis, Shawnawdithit, Nancy April and Nancy Shanawdithit, was the last known living member of the Beothuk people of Newfoundland, Canada. Also remembered for drawings she made towards the end of her life, Shawnawdithit was in her late twenties when she died of tuberculosis in St. John's, Newfoundland.


Shanawdithit was born near a large lake on the island of Newfoundland in about 1801, a time when the Beothuk population was dwindling. Their traditional way of life was affected by encroaching European settlements on the island, settler violence, and European diseases against which they had little or no immunity. The Beothuks were also slowly being cut off from the sea, one of their food sources. Beothuks had long avoided Europeans. Trappers and furriers regarded the Beothuks as thieves and would sometimes attack them. As a child, Shanawdithit was shot by a white trapper while washing venison in a river. She suffered from the injury for some time, but recovered.

Last Updated:
21th of June, 2023

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