Newfoundland museum renamed to recognize Indigenous name of Beothuk woman, Demasduit

JOHN’S, N.L. — A Newfoundland museum that celebrates Indigenous history but has used an English name given to a Beothuk woman by her captor is changing its name.

The facility formerly known as Mary March Provincial Museum in the central Newfoundland community of Grand Falls-Windsor will now be called the Demasduit Regional Museum.

The Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador website says Mary March was the name given to Demasduit by her captor, John Peyton Jr., who kidnapped her in 1819 after he and his men attacked her community.

Among the island’s original inhabitants, the last Beothuk is believed to have died in 1829, and Demasduit is considered one of the last survivors.

The Rooms, the cultural organization that runs the Demasduit museum, said when it launched consultations on a new name last December that it recognized the colonial history of the museum’s former name.

The museum’s website notes that its displays include artifacts of a number of Indigenous Peoples, including the Beothuk.

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