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Beothuk, tribe of Native Americans that once lived on the island of Newfoundland and spoke Bethukian, an independent language. Hunters by trade, the Beothuk were most likely the first people encountered by early European settlers. They had a reputation as skilled canoeists and accomplished hunters and fishermen. In 1497 the Beothuk tribe consisted of nearly 500 people, but their numbers diminished until they became extinct in 1829.

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