Wampum Belts of the Iroquois



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Product Description

From the back cover:

For generations wampum, the beaded belts and strings created from drilled shells and porcupine quills, have served native peoples. The early Indians of the Atlantic seaboard used wampum for personal decorations such as belts, wrist bands, earrings, necklaces, and headbands. Even European settlers became wampum makers, and the first money of the American colonies was wampum.

The Iroquois people used wampum for official purposes as well as for religious ceremonies. Wampum was introduced to the Iroquois at the time of the founding of the League of the Five Nations by Hiawatha. He taught the Five Nations that wampum should bring peace and bind peace and take the place of blood.

Wampum came to be regarded as something sacred. Wampum strings served as credentials or as a certificate of authority and guaranteed a message or a promise. No Iroquois individual or nation would think of breaking a word or treaty if the treaty was made over a sacred wampum belt.

Guided by teacher Tehanetorens, students of the Indian Way School at Akwesasne Mohawk Nation present their authentic, bead-for-bead replicas of sacred Iroquois wampum belts and strings, along with descriptions of the meanings of each piece and how they fit into the history of the Iroquois people.

Tehanetorens (Ray Fadden) was a master storyteller in the Mohawk tradition and author of Legends of the Iroquois. During his lifelong career as a teacher, he has established youth groups at Akwesasne to promote native values and served as president of the Indian Defense League of North America. In 1954 he founded the Six Nations Indian Museum near Onchiota, NY, to serve as a cultural center for tribal people in the Six Nations region. The museum collection contains a number of pieces produced by Tehanetorens himself during his lifetime. Tehanetorens passed away in 2008 at the age of 98, and the museum continues to be operated by his family.

Six Nations Indian Museum

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Weight .5875 lbs


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