In a timely follow-up to class discussions over the past weeks, The Toronto Star has run a piece about the extinction / extermination of the Beothuks of Newfoundland during the eighteen and early nineteenth centuries. The article describes an upcoming film production about the Beothuks using forensic anthropology and ethnohistory:
[The] supposed mystery of the Beothuk could well turn out to be more imaginary than real, as their life story is now finally being reconstructed with the same passion and scientific rigour applied to other native groups.
As a start, Toronto independent filmmaker Christopher Gagosz has used forensic techniques popularized by TV shows like CSI to examine how this one encounter on the ice pushed the Beothuk over the extinction precipice.
As well, the making of the documentary is helping to jump-start a longer-term scientific investigation into the origins of the Beothuk, their links to present-day native groups and their place in the initial peopling of the New World.
“For us, it’s the first step in what we hope will be a very big regional study,” says Newfoundland archaeologist and ethnohistorian Ingeborg Marshall, author of a definitive book about the Beothuk.
The article also discusses the forensic techniques used to investigate the vulnerability of the Beothuk population and includes broader commentary about Beothuk history and research.
The Star gives background information about the Beothuks here.