what is the purpose of the wampum belt?

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The 17th-century treaty between the Dutch and the Dutch, this wampum was signed when Europeans requested to live on the land. It encourages cooperation, and serves common interests. The purple is separated from the white by two rows. The white symbolises peace, strength, and a positive mind. As a whole, the wampum belt represents one river that has two vessels (the purple line) traveling side-by side. The ship is represented by the Dutch, while the other purple vessel is the canoe or Haudenosaunee. The people and their traditions are contained within each vessel. Both these lines, or nations, are separate and can steer their vessel independently.😁 [1]
Wampum belts are composed of carefully placed strings made of knotted wampum bead, made from cowrie shells, quahog, whelk or cowrie shells. Below are images of the shells and beads. The distinctive white wampum beads are made from cowrie and whelk shells. Quahog clam shells can be used to make vibrant and beautiful purple wampum balls. These beads are carefully punched through their center, and then strung onto threads of bark sinew or deer id. Indigenous Peoples consider wampum beads sacred. The traditional process of knotting the wampum beads to form a string or belt is called “Wampum Bead Knotting”. spiritual and done with meaning (Johansen & Mann, 2000). Terena Hairston was kind enough to tell us about this one. [2]
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The woven and beaded wampum belts, which were made in various American Indian communities in the Northeastern and Central United States before European contact (late 15th century) and thereafter, are woven belts. Wampum is a word that means “white shell” in Algonquian, the Algonquian language spoken by both the Narragansett and Wampanoag populations of Massachusetts. Wampum belts contain white and purple beads. The purple comes from the quahog and white beads come from the whelkshell. Because of their fragility, the artisans needed to be skilled and precise to polish and drill a hole in the centre. It usually takes one day to make a single bead. Although the oldest wampum beads are disks, they were eventually shaped into the modern cylindrical form. The thread was spun by women artisans from milkweed, velvet leaf and toad flax. The beaded belt was made by women using prehistoric finger weaving methods, but without a loom. The term “belt” simply refers to its shape, as these were never worn. Brianna Saylor, for providing the tip. [3]
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Onondaga took on the role of WampumKeeper of Haudenosaunee during the Great Peace’s founding. For four countless centuries, the Onondaga took care of the belts. Our white brothers noticed the importance of our belts when they first started interacting with us. New York anthropologists eventually managed to get the belts after several attempts. The National immediately sought to get the belts back. But the State of New York deemed that these belts were too valuable and needed to placed in the State’s museum for safe keeping. The Onondaga Nation worked hard to ensure that the wampum returned home. After the tireless efforts of chiefs, some belts were finally returned to their owners in 1989. [4]
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Making wampum beads can be difficult. The shell is then broken down into either purple or white cubes once it has been obtained. The purple cubes signify serious political or religious matters, and white wampum is for peace. After the cubes had been clamped, a stone- or reed drill could be used to bore through them. Iron drills became more common as technology improved. Droplets water prevented the drill’s friction from heating upside down and smashing the cube. Halfway through, a hole was made. Then the drills were reversed. To shape the beads, they were strung onto lengths of thread that was then ground against a grooved rock. Through this process wampum beads, long cylindrical beads about ¼” long and 1/8” in diameter, were created. [5]

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Kelly-Anne Kidston

Written by Kelly-Anne Kidston

I am a writer of many words, from fiction to poetry to reviews. I am an avid reader and a lover of good books. I am currently writing my first novel and would love to find some beta readers who are interested in getting an early look.

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