All three women were sick with the consumption that was a plague among the Beothuk. Shawnadithit's sister died and soon it was obvious that her mother was dying too. Shawnadithit took her mother to a sandy point by the waters of Red Indian Lake, held her in her arms and sang her people's last lament. She sewed her body into a blanket of birch bark, buried her and set out alone for the coast, stumbling out at Notre Dame Bay. She knew now that she was the last of her people.
The Beothuk were a semi-nomadic people who wintered around the shores of the beautiful lakes of the interior of Newfoundland, where they hunted caribou and other game. In the spring they would paddle off downriver to the coast to hunt seal and salmon, fashioning most of what they needed along the way. They built unique conical birch houses called mamateeks which featured double layers of birch and moss insulation.