According to ockbaywaywampum.com, "wampum is the bead cut from the Quahog shell, its distinctive purple and white bands create beautiful natural diversity in the material, which can be smoothed to a high polished shine. The Quahog clam is geographically limited to the coastal waters between Maine and Long Island and was harvested for food and made into jewelry by the coastal peoples of the North-Eastern region. Culturally, Wampum was used as far south as the Carolinas, inland throughout the Great Lakes region, and north into the Canadian Maritimes. Small tubular beads were woven into 'belts' creating patterns by alternating between purple and white beads. These 'Wampum Belts' were often created as treaties between Tribal Nations and held value beyond the material, these beads also symbolized ongoing commitments to reciprocity. The Wampum bead was more than just a bead, it was also a promise, a memory, a sacred language of the past and future."
In this podcast, we share with you the incredible work of Hartman Deetz (Mashpee Wampanoag) and human rights lawyer Michelle Cook (Diné), founder of Divest Invest Protect (DIP), on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples wampum belt. Indigenous artist and advocate Hartman Deetz looks to his ancestors, to his past, to wampum-- the ancient tool of art, law, ritual, and diplomacy to find guidance and ways forward for his people. The UNDRIP wampum belt is a means of teaching Indigenous human rights using and centering Indigenous Peoples' technology and pedagogical legal practices with wampum as both the medium and the message of accountability, healing, and change. To learn more visit: www.unwampumbelt.com.
Cultural Survival Recently spoke to Hartman Deetz from Ockbay Wampum, and Michelle Cook (Diné) to hear a little more about the belts they are producing… and also to learn about how wampum has been used in the history of the United States.
Produced by Shaldon Ferris (Khoisan)
Interviewees: Hartman Deetz (Mashpee Wampanoag) and Michelle Cook (Diné)
Image courtesy of www.unwampumbelt.com/
Music: "Lights in the forest" by Ziibiwan, used with permission.
"Burn your village to the ground", by The Halluci Nation, used with permission.