Spe­cial cer­e­mony

Sig­nif­i­cant his­toric site re­cieves long- de­served recog­ni­tion

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Front Page - BY PAULINE DEAN SPE­CIAL TO THE AD­VER­TISER

A large group gath­ered at In­dian Point Na­tional His­toric Site near Millertown Oct.27 for the un­veil­ing of plaque com­mis­sioned by Parks Canada’s His­toric Sites and Mon­u­ments Board of Canada.

Ev­ery­one was ex­cited for the event, which was a long time com­ing.

Coast of Bays- Cen­tral- Notre Dame MP Scott Simms rep­re­sented Cather­ine McKenna, min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for Parks Canada, at the un­veil­ing.

He called the plaque “a sym­bol of recog­ni­tion and cel­e­bra­tion of Cana­dian her­itage.

“This is an op­por­tu­nity to bring peo­ple to­gether to cre­ate new connections be­tween Indige­nous peo­ples in Canada and non- Indige­nous Cana­di­ans.”

Ac­cord­ing to Parks Canada, the plaque com­mem­o­rates the pres­ence and life­style of the Beothuk, who in­hab­ited the shores of Red In­dian Lake dur­ing the win­ter months for sea­sonal hunt­ing.

Em­cee Dr. Shan­non LewisSimp­son, NL rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the His­toric Sites and Mon­u­ments Board of Canada, in­tro­duced guests in­clud­ing Simms, the Ex­ploits Na­tive Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion, the 1st Buchans Girl Guides, the Buchans Pa­trol Ju­nior Cana­dian Rangers, Qalipu First Na­tion band man­ager Keith Gould­ing and Red In­dian Lake Her­itage So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Teresa Greene.

The cer­e­mony be­gan with the Ex­ploits Na­tive Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion drum­ming and singing the “Mi’Kmaq Hon­our Song,” fol­lowed by the na­tional an­them sung by the Buchans Girl Guides.

“The un­veil­ing of this plaque in­di­cates to all Cana­di­ans the sig­nif­i­cance of the Beothuk who in­hab­ited our prov­ince,” said Lewis-Simp­son. “It is im­por­tant that we share their story, which is at the core of the her­itage and cul­ture of our prov­ince and an es­sen­tial part of our na­tion’s his­tory.”

The His­tory Sites and Mon­u­ments Board of Canada is com­prised of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from ev­ery prov­ince and ter­ri­tory, in­clud­ing pro­fes­sional staff who as­sist the board in re­search­ing and eval­u­at­ing the many pro­pos­als that come each year from all over Canada rec­og­niz­ing the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of par­tic­u­lar places, peo­ple and events.

Ac­cord­ing to the board, In­dian Point is an ex­am­ple of a camp where the Beothuk win­tered in well-built, multi-sided ma­ma­teeks.

In the fall, fam­i­lies left the sea­coast and as­sem­bled here to hunt cari­bou us­ing ex­ten­sive drive sys­tems of fences along the lakeshore and the Ex­ploits River, keep­ing the meat in stor­age huts.

Oc­cu­pied for many gen­er­a­tions, this site was aban­doned around 1820 by the Beothuk, whose pop­u­la­tion was by then greatly re­duced.

In­dian Point is among the best- doc­u­mented Beothuk sites, first recorded by John Cartwright in 1768, fol­lowed by Shanawdithit in 1829, and ar­chae­ol­o­gists in the 20th cen­tury.

Lewis- Simp­son ac­knowl­edged the Red In­dian Lake Her­itage So­ci­ety, Beothuk In­sti­tute, Dr. Inge­borg Mar­shall, Al­bert Tay­lor, Jerry Pen­ney, and the late Ken Reynolds of the pro­vin­cial arche­ol­ogy of­fice, for their dili­gence.

In­cred­i­ble ad­vo­cate

Simms ac­knowl­edged the cer­e­mony was held on the tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory of the Beothuk and Mi’Kmaq peo­ples on the shores of Red In­dian Lake. He also thanked Teresa Greene, pres­i­dent of the Red In­dian Lake Her­itage So­ci­ety and other vol­un­teer mem­bers for their com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion in car­ing for this unique site.

“Teresa has been an in­cred­i­ble ad­vo­cate for this over the years and she de­serves a lot of credit.”

Keith Gould­ing, man­ager of Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Na­tion, re­marked on the view of re­la­tions be­tween the Beothuk and Mi’Kmaq he learned in school.

“( The his­tory books) taught me a lit­tle dif­fer­ent story,” Gould­ing said, “but the oral tra­di­tions are that we met on these plains and these beaches and we lived to­gether in this area.

“It is im­por­tant that we come to­gether and mark this im­por­tant ter­ri­tory in this sig­nif­i­cant event to­day.”

Greene re­counted many of the de­tails known about the his­tory of the Beothuk, their way of life and tra­di­tions. She spoke of the in­ter­ac­tion with the Euro­peans who at first came to the area on a sea­sonal ba­sis and later year-round, and how it led to the even­tual demise of their peo­ple.

Arche­ol­o­gists have dis­cov­ered ar­ti­facts in the area that are both pre- con­tact and his­toric, and these help “give us the story of the Beothuk” she said.

Damming the lake and in­dus­try has de­stroyed a lot of the sites through ero­sion and ris­ing and fall­ing wa­ter lev­els, she said, so it was like “the end of the Beothuk all over again.”

“Let us pro­tect what is left of this spe­cial place,” Greene said.

The plaque was un­veiled by Greene, Lewis- Simp­son, Gould­ing and Simms. Text on the plaque was read by JCRs Noel Rowsell and Me­quila Lafitte. Guides sang “Land of the Sil­ver Birch” and the Ex­ploits Na­tive Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion drummed the “Mi’Kmaq Prayer Song.”

Lewis- Simp­son noted her daugh­ter is learn­ing about the Beothuk in Grade 5.

“So although we can’t re­ally change the past,” she said, “we can per­haps shape the fu­ture as we go for­ward in this place.”

Tourism po­ten­tial

The In­dian Point site was orig­i­nally des­ig­nated as a Na­tional His­toric Site in 1978, but the plaque wasn’t made avail­able un­til now.

Those at­tend­ing were pleased to see the plaque un­veiled and see its great value for the area.

“I’m hop­ing it will be a good mar­ket­ing ( tool),” Greene says. “It’s been my mis­sion to get ( Parks Canada) to get the plaque and say, ‘this is what it is.’ We re­ally should take care of (the site) and I think the plaque helps you do that.”

Millertown mayor Bar­bara Shep­pard agrees. She hopes it will at­tract more tourism to the area.

“At least now we’ve got some­thing from a tourism per­spec­tive, some­thing of in­ter­est that we can ac­tu­ally take peo­ple to show,” she said.

Simms said the plaque brings a spe­cial recog­ni­tion be­cause now the site will re­ceive more pro­mo­tion.

“Be­fore it was just word of mouth, where peo­ple just knew about In­dian Point. But now that Parks Canada has ac­knowl­edged it, that goes a long way be­cause we can talk about it and there is money that goes to­ward the pro­mo­tion of it.”

The plaque will stay in­side for the win­ter, but come spring, plans will be made to erect it on site at In­dian Point, says Ray Ken­ney, public re­la­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer with Parks Canada in St John’s.

He says Parks Canada will con­sult with the Red In­dian Lake Her­itage So­ci­ety and be­tween them will de­cide on the lo­ca­tion and back­drop, while be­ing cog­nizant of pro­tect­ing the ex­ist­ing his­toric site.


Mem­bers of the Ex­ploits Na­tive Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion at the new Parks Canada his­toric sites and mon­u­ments plaque fol­low­ing the cer­e­mony for its un­veil­ing Oct. 27. As­so­ci­a­tion drummed the “Mi’Kmaq Hon­our Song” and the “Mi’Kmaq Prayer Song” at the plaque un­veil­ing cer­e­mony.


A Parks Canada his­toric sites and mon­u­ments plaque was un­veiled dur­ing a cer­e­mony at In­dian Point near Millertown Oct. 27. From left: Teresa Greene, Red In­dian Lake Her­itage So­ci­ety pres­i­dent; Dr. Shan­non Lewis-Green, NL rep­re­sen­ta­tive for His­toric Sites and Mon­u­ments Board of Canada; Keith Gould­ing, Qalipu First Na­tion band man­ager, and MP Scott Simms.


The 1st Buchans Guide Unit and the Buchans Pa­trol of the Ju­nior Cana­dian Rangers at­tended the cer­e­mony at In­dian Point near Millertown. Both groups took an ac­tive part in the event.

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