Red Indians

(of Newfoundland). So called because they daub their skin, garments, canoes, weapons, and almost everything with red ochre.

“Whether it is merely a custom, or whether they daub their skin with red ochre to protect it from the attacks of mosquitos and black-flies, which swarm by myriads in the woods and wilds during the summer, it is not possible to say.” —Lady Blake: Nineteenth Century, Dec. 1888, p. 905.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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