Monumental Exploits rock given Beothuk name, after 10-year lobby

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Monumental Exploits rock given Beothuk name, after 10-year lobby

It took 10 years, but retired primary teacher Anne Warr fulfilled a dream on Thursday at her old school in central Newfoundland. 

A plaque to rename a rock in the Exploits River after the province's last Beothuk chief was unveiled to a gymnasium full of students and staff at Woodland Primary in Grand Falls-Windsor. 

The boulder will now be known as Nonosabatsut Rock.

Three of Warr's former students, who were part of the the campaign to recognize the Beothuk story, were there to help with the presentation. 

Denika Lewis, ShyAnne Mercer, and Mark Roberts were in Warr's Grade 2 class in 2007 and are now in their first year of post-secondary.

"Ms. Warr was one of my favourite teachers so I wanted to help her out with the assembly," said Mercer, who read a poem she had written about Nonosabasut as a child.

"We did a lot of projects around the community. We each had our own project that we got to explain to the class."

Chief died trying to stop wife's capture

The plaque for Nonosabatsut Rock was donated by the town of Grand Falls-Windsor. It features a photo of the rock, which is said to be in the shape of Nonosabatsut's face.

The plaque also features a poem written by Woodland Primary teacher Cheryl Burt, which tells the history of the Beothuk and the chief.

In 1819, Nonosabatsut was killed by John Peyton Jr. while trying to prevent the capture of his wife, Demasduit. Their infant son died two days later. 

Lewis, who led Thursday's assembly, said she is happy to see this part of history remembered. 

"It nice that people aren't just going to be looking at a rock anymore. They'll actually be able to see and read something about it. It has significance to our town," said Lewis

"We're finally starting to honour the names of the Aboriginals who either went extinct or were tragically taken advantage of," said her former classmate, Mark Roberts. 

The plaque will be installed near the site of Nonosabatsut Rock this summer on June 21, National Aboriginal Day.