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  • Resource Database / Crafts & Indigenous Skills / Beads & Beadwork / Woven Beadwork & Wampum

    Resources: 35 listings
    Name and Description Nation Location
    Aboriginals in New Brunswick - Using Symbols to Communicate Messages
    Maliseet Canada - Eastern
    Illustration of a Wampum Bias Weave Collar - Wampum was used by many Indian peoples in the northeastern part of North America as a way of recording and sending messages. It consisted of purple and white beads made from the shells of quahog clams. The beads were strung in single strands or woven into 'belts', much like those made on bead-looms today. The design on each string or belt indicated the type of message being sent and helped the messenger remember the specific contents.
    An American Mint, Even Before Coins
      US - Northeast
    In the beginning, Long Island was Sewanhacky. This Algonquian word -- which roughly translates to 'Place of Shells' -- is found in Dutch records of land purchases in western Long Island. 'It is believed to come from the Delaware sewan, purple shell, and hacky, place,' said Charles Gehring, the director of the New York State New Netherlands Project, in Albany, an effort under way to translate Dutch documents from the 17th Century.
    More sites on www.lihistory.com
    Bead - Wampum - Miketben
    Mohawk US - Northeast
    Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy)-Mohawk Nation -Sovereignty-People Of The Longhouse-Two Row Wampum Treaty - Guswhenta
    More sites on hometown.aol.com
    Beadweaving Basics
    by Wendy Van Camp - So, you saw one of those little bead looms in the craft store and just could not resist buying it. Visions of bracelets, hat bands and belts swirling in your imagination. But now that you have it, how do you use it? Bead looms are based on a simple loom style. Basically, just a frame with a method of keeping the strung warp threads a uniform distance from one another.
    More sites on suzannecooper.com
    Campbell's Who Made Wampum
      US - Northeast
    By Gerald F. Cahill - December 2000 -- Introduction, Role of Wampum in Indian Society, Campbell Brothers Wampum Business, Manufacture of Wampum, William Campbell Family, Wampum Collections, Author's Note & References
    More sites on freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com
    Cultural Readings - La Potherie wampum
    Iroquois US - Northeast
    La Potherie, an admirer of Iroquois culture, includes this image of Iroquois wampum with this note: wampum "is their writing for making peace treaties, for diplomacy, for expressing their thoughts, for settling disputes, for condemnation or for absolution; it serves as an ornament for young warriors going to battle, who make it into bracelets and belts which they place on their white shirts."
    More sites on www.library.upenn.edu
    Cultural Readings: Colonization & Print in the Americas
    Iroquois US - Northeast
    No utterance of any diplomatic occasion was valid until authenticated by the exchange of wampum in the form of strings or belts. Wampum served to engender further diplomatic contact - its presentation was a gesture that required a repricocal effort on the part of the recipient. Acceptance of the gift of wampum implied the acceptance of its message. In this way, wampum functioned like a certificate. This wampum belt is an abstract representation of an alliance between two peoples, signified by the straight path running between them.
    More sites on www.library.upenn.edu
    Early European Contact
      Canada - Eastern
    Wampum belt - Among the First Nations of the east, wampum was most often used to measure wealth and for gift-giving. The wampum belt you see on the screen is made of small cylindrical shells strung together. In addition to being used as a means of payment, wampum belts also had ceremonial uses, such as the marking of peace treaties, the summoning of the various nations to war, or the recording of important events in the history of the people.
    More sites on collections.ic.gc.ca
    Four Huron Nations Wampum, 1611
    Huron Canada - Eastern
    In 1611, Huron people presented Samuel de Champlain, the governor of the French colony of Quebec, with this wampum belt made of sea shells. Four people represent the Confederacy of the four Huron nations. Each person holds a symbol of union in one hand.
    More sites on eee.uci.edu
    Historical Wampum
      US - Northeast
    'Wampum' is a contraction for the Algonquian word 'wampumpeage' (phonetically pronounced 'wom pom pe ak') or 'white shell beads.' Historical wampum is small (1/8 inch to wide), usually cylindrical, white and purple beads, hand-polished, drilled, and strung into strings or woven into belts. Geometric figures were sometimes, not always, woven into the belts.
    More sites on web.syr.edu
    Iroquois Wampum Belts
    Iroquois US - Northeast
    Black and White photographs
    Jake Thomas Learning Centre
    Seneca Canada
    The Jake Thomas Learning Centre’s mission is to preserve and promote traditional Haudenoshaunee ways through language and artesan workshops.
    Money in North American History
      US - Northeast
    Apart from its intrinsic interest, history can often shed light on current political controversies. Many political disputes revolve around questions of economics and of all the matters that fall under the purview of economic history there is one that has had, and still has, a profound impact on many aspects of everyone's daily life, and that is money. This essay is based on a book on monetary history by Glyn Davies which contains a considerable amount of material on the financial development of the United States.
    Money Substitutes in New Netherland and Early New York
      US - Northeast
    This is an introduction to the various coin substitutes used in New Netherland and early New York. The essay is divided into three parts. First is a discussion on the role and history of wampum, followed by a section on the beaver pelt and concluding with a section on various other commodities used as money. A discussion of the coinage used in New Netherland and Early New York is located in the section "Coins Imported into the Colonies to 1750," in the chapter on Dutch coinage.
    Nature Bulletins - Uses of Mussels
      US - Northeast
    The wampum of the early American Indians was beads made from the shells of freshwater mussels or saltwater clams. Each bead, highly polished and cylindrical in shape, was about a quarter of an inch long and either purple or white in color. Strung on strings or woven into patterns on a belt, wampum was used as money, as a symbol of authority, or as a sort of shorthand historical record which only certain interpreters could translate.
    More sites on www.newton.dep.anl.gov
    Nature Bulletins - Wampum
      US - Northeast
    What is wampum? According to stories about the early colonists, it was Indian money made out of shells. However, wampum -- short for the Algonquian word wampumpeag--means strings of shell beads or belts woven from shell beads True wampum beads had certain sizes, shapes and colors. Each bead, about one-fourth of an inch long, was cylindrical with a hole drilled lengthwise to form a tube. There were two colors: white ones made from a large sea snail called a whelk, and dark purple ones from the quahog -- a saltwater clam of the north Atlantic coast. They were polished glassy smooth and strung on sinew cords or embroidered in patterns on strips of deer skin to make belts.
    More sites on www.newton.dep.anl.gov
    Mohawk US - Northeast
    Onehkohra Is the Mohawk word given to these long cylindrical shaped beads. The beads are made from the white and purple quahog shells found along the Atlantic coast of North America. WAMPUM is the word used by the Algonquin to describe these shells.
    More sites on www.tyendinaga.net
    Oneida Indian Nation Exhibits - Wampum Belt
    Oneida US - Northeast
    This nikohla' or wampum is the national and common property of the Oneida Indian Nation. It is a kind of national treasure although we and other Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) did not use it as money as the early non-native colonists did.
    More sites on oneida-nation.net
    Oneida Indian Nation Exhibits - Wampum Items
    Oneida US - Northeast
    Wampum attested to the truth, importance, and significance of a message. Any statement not accompanied by wampum was likely to be false or trivial. The words of the message were so closely associated with wampum that, after being "read into" the shell fabric, the words could be recalled by viewing the wampum object. Wampum also, therefore, was a memory aid.
    More sites on oneida-nation.net
    Sag Harbor's Early Settlers II
      US - Northeast
    A review of the Southampton Town records, Vol. I will provide the reader all the information he needs on the establishment of this old town! Southampton, bought from the Indians in 1641 for the consideration of 16 coats of Wampum and 60 bushels of Indian corn, provides, not only a peaceful but also a historic retreat from the daily cares of the world.
    Seashells and Other Things from Assateague Beach
      US - Northeast
    Winter is the best season to look for shells along Assateague Beach, especially after a northeaster has sent waves up to the foot of the dunes. It is then that you may even find live knobbed and lightning whelks.
    Significance of Wampum to Seventeenth Century Indians in New England
      US - Northeast
    by Lois Scozzari - For the land, people, and animals of pre-colonial New England, the seventeenth century was a tumultuous one. They suffered the total rearrangement of the social and ecological balance achieved in previous centuries. The environment had been gradually and sometimes deliberately shaped into an abundantly productive ecosystem by indigenous people who had learned to live as part of their surroundings, adapting themselves to it and its seasons. The ability of people living on the land to move in accordance with its offerings was the key to a system of balance. These people recognized the necessity of balance in both the use of resources and in human relationships.
    More sites on www.hartford-hwp.com
    The Wampum Bird - A story
    Iroquois US - Northeast
    One legend tells how the Iroquois hero Hiawatha, while travelling through the territory of the Mohawks, came to the edge of a great lake. As he was wondering how to cross it, a huge flock of ducks descended on the lake and began to drink the water. When the birds rose up again, the lake was dry and its bed was covered with shells. From these shells Hiawatha made the first wampum beads and used them to unite the tribes in peace.
    More sites on tuscaroras.com
    UCSB Anthropology Projects
      US - Southwest
    A fourteen-foot-long necklace of shell and stone beads, along with three pieces of turquoise, all from a wall niche in Chetro Ketl's great kiva. Collections of the Museum of New Mexico; photo by Deborah Flynn (from New Light on Chaco Canyon, 1984, edited by David Grant Noble. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe, NM).
    Vatican Wampum Belt - An Important American Indian Artifact and its Cultural Origins and Meaning
      Canada - Eastern
    By Marshal Becker -- The Vatican wampum belt is an interesting and late example of a sub-category of examples that I call Religious, or Ecclesiastical-Convert, wampum belts. Religious Belts are distinct from the normal Secular (Diplomatic-Political) belts in their use, but were produced by native crafters using traditional technology but incorporating religious texts and/or themes that reflect their use within the Catholic church mission system. The first known examples of Religious belts date from the 1650s. The last known example is the Vatican belt that was made at the Lac des Deux Montagnes missionary community near Montreal in 1831 and sent as a gift to Pope Gregory XVI in Rome.
    More sites on mrc.uccb.ns.ca
      US - Northeast
    Since they had no writing system, the Iroquois depended upon the spoken word to pass down their history, traditions, and rituals. As an aid to memory, the Iroquois used shells and shell beads. The Europeans called the beads wampum, from wampumpeag, a word used by Indians in the area who spoke Algonquin languages.
    More sites on www.carnegiemuseums.org
      US - Northeast
    Wampum strings (for minor points) and belts (for major issues) were always exchanged as an important adjunct to record keeping. Although such belts were valuable, they were not (as many easterners thought, and as many people still think) a form of currency. Rather, they were a form of record-keeping developed among the tribes through the centuries and used to impress indelibly the desired points embodied in the message of the speaker delivering them.
    More sites on www.geocities.com
    Wampum - a Display
      Canada - Eastern
    Through the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery-Hands On Art History
    More sites on www.usask.ca
    Wampum Belt
      US - Northeast
    The more purple that a wampum belt contained, the greater its value. The predominance of purple in these belts indicates their high value.
    Wampum Belt
    Iroquois US - Northeast
    George Washington Covenant Belt (Reproduction) - The original Washington wampum belt is most often identified with the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794, which pledged peace between the United States and the Six Nations of the Iroquois. However it was probably a gift to the Iroquois Confederacy from the United States at a treaty signing in 1789.
    More sites on www.carnegiemuseums.org
    Wampum Belt
      Canada - Eastern
    Collections du Musée de l'Homme - Détail d'un personnage
    Wampum Belts as Objects
    An actual, individual belt instantiates the sub-class 'wampum belt' in the class 'wampum' in the superclass 'tangible things that represent speech.' In the 'wampum' class, sub-classes other than 'belt' would be 'loose beads' and 'single string of beads'. All wampum belts function similarly. Each instance, or each belt, represents a particular speech event--a single talk, or a particular council meeting, or a specific treaty. From native perspective, the beads carry the information, or the speakers' words. Encapsulation is thus a given. Variables are: an array of beads; bead color; bead size and shape; belt width (number of strands); belt length, and, possibly, geometric figures. Acting on these variables are these methods: record speakers' words; prompt messenger's memory; prompt reciprocal exchange.
    More sites on web.syr.edu
    Wampum History and Background
      US - Northeast
    European traders and politicians, using beads and trinkets, often exploited gift exchange to gain Native American favor or territory. With the scarcity of metal coins in New England, Wampum quickly evolved into a formal currency after European/Native contact, it\'s production greatly facilitated by slender European metal drill bits. Wampum was mass produced in coastal southern New England. The Narragansetts and Pequots monopolized the manufacture and exchange of wampum in this area.
    More sites on www.nativetech.org
    Wampum Shell Beads
      US - Northeast
    A bead researcher can't say enough about wampum. It is the most written about bead in the world. It is the most important bead in American history. Yet, few people know what it is. Wampum (wampumpeake) consists of small, tubular beads made of white or violet sea shells. True or "council" wampum is about a quarter of an inch (6 mm) long and half as wide. Larger wampum beads were made in white-run factories in New York and New Jersey, the last one closing about 100 years ago.
    More sites on www.thebeadsite.com
    Wampum, Treaties Sacred Records
      US - Northeast
    Its name comes from the Narraganset word po-qua-hock. Belt-wampum beads were rectangular cutouts, with drilled holes, rolled smooth on sandstone, then woven into a shell-beaded fabric. They recorded agreements, with the purple color predominant if the agreement was considered more important, serious, or sad.
    More sites on www.kstrom.net

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