By Ingeborg Marshall
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Extra info for A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk
50 In the absence of documentation, we are left to speculate on how the Beothuk adapted to the increasing presence of fishing crews in Newfoundland waters and on shore during the summer months, when they too depended upon resources harvested along Newfoundland's coasts. One thing that emerges from the records, or perhaps one should say from the lack of records, is that Beothuk seemed reluctant to communicate with Europeans and withdrew from the places they frequented. Considering the large profits reaped in the fur trade elsewhere on the Atlantic coast, it is not unreasonable to assume that ships that came into Newfoundland waters would have expected comparable trade opportunities with the indigenous population of the island.
They were often reused for several seasons and may have been targets for pilfering by Beothuk. A second method, necessary when frequent fog or rain prevented the drying process, was that of heavily salting the fish on board so that it could be transported home without spoiling. This method involved less time on shore but required considerable amounts of salt, which was available cheaply to the Portuguese and French but not to the British. It was therefore the British who would have spent more time on shore than the Portuguese and the French.
In exchange for his goods they accepted only knives, fish hooks, and sharp metals, and to scorn his men they laughingly showed them their buttocks. When a party of his men ignored the Indian's objections and disembarked to explore the country, the Indians shot at them. In Verazzano's opinion, they compared poorly with the native people farther south who had most civil customs, and who had led his ship to safe anchorage and been generous to the point of giving away all they had. 16 Gomes first investigated the Penobscot River in Maine and then sailed northward as far as Cape Race, Newfoundland.
A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk by Ingeborg Marshall