The Beothuk Institute was incorporated at St. John’s in 1997. Its formation was initiated by artist Gerry Squires. His vision of a lone Beothuk woman standing strong and proud against an oncoming storm near Exploits Island inspired him to create a statue to commemorate the Beothuk.  Initially the Beothuk Institute raised the funds for this project and Squires’ statue – “The Spirit of the Beothuk” – now stands on the grounds of the Boyd’s Cove Beothuk Interpretation Centre.

The Origin

The Beothuk Institute is the successor of the “Boeothick Institution“. The first meeting of this earlier Institution was held on October 2, 1827 at the Courthouse in Twillingate. Its President was William Eppes Cormack. The purpose of the original Boeothick Institution was to consolidate community support for projects aimed at opening communications with Newfoundland’s Beothuk and saving them from extinction.

During the formative years, the Beothuk Institute was chaired by Dr. Philip Warren, Faculty of Education MUN (retired), former Minister of Education, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

On March 2, 2006 at its Annual General Meeting, the Beothuk Institute decided to relocate its Head Office to Lewisporte, thus returning the Institute to Central Newfoundland, the last living space of the Beothuk.

Founding Members

Anne Pratt
Cliff George
Gail Squires
Gerry Squires
Dr. Ingeborg Marshall
J.A. McGrath
John FitzGerald
Lois Saunders (Secretary)
Mary Pratt
Michael McGuire
Paul O’Neill
Dr. Phillip Warren (Chair)
Shane O’Dea

The Story of the First Meeting

The story actually started in early 1996 when Gerry Squires visited me to tell me about the vision he had of a Beothuk woman on a small island close to Exploits Island. He now felt compelled to produce a memorial to the Beothuk. I gave him the manuscript of my chapter on Shanawdithit of the, as yet, unpublished book (it was published in fall 1996). Gerry told me that he wanted to make a figure of Shanawdithit in clay and have it poured in bronze. He was going to get in touch with a few friends who might be willing to support the project. We ended up having a meeting in May 1997 at Jim McGrath’s home on Riverside Rd. …It was decided at that meeting to form the Beothuk Institute.

~ by Dr. Ingeborg Marshall