Indigenous “Texts” of Inhabiting the Land
George Washington’s Wampum Belt and the Canandaigua Treaty
Keywords:Wampum belts, Native American treaties
Wampum is symbolic, or iconic, of a long and enduring lineage of immigrant and indigenous relationships in North America throughout the colonial and into the American period. Wampum almost always represented co-habitation agreements for how diametrically different human communities—colonial and indigenous peoples—could live together on the same lands. A vivid example is the George Washington Wampum Belt created by the U.S. government to commemorate the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794. Vitally important for understanding this agreement is that wampum is a sacred and ceremonial material that has been utilized by the Haudenosaunee since time immemorial until the present day.
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