Hiawatha Wampum Belt Sculpture
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This is a hand hammered Sterling Silver Sculpture that is mounted in a silver metal frame with 4 hand cuts mats. The mats represent some of the colors of wampum, Dark purple, lavender, white, and black. There is also a piece of wampum mounted into the sculpture. Haudenossaunee or "People of the Long House", the Iroquois League, The 5 Nations. From earliest times, the unity of the Iroquois has been symbolized by a wampum belt fashioned in a pattern that has become known as "Hiawatha's Belt". Wampum, it should be mentioned, was a trade item based upon small shells tied together into strings or entire picture tableaus.
The "Hiawatha's Belt" is composed of five figures. The center is the great or sacred tree of peace under which the Iroquois met in council. On either side of the central Tree are two differently sized squares. The squares were connected to each other, and to the central Tree by a narrow band.
The five squares represent the five original tribes. From left to right they represent the Seneca, the keepers of the Western Door; the Cayugas, the "people of the marsh" and "keepers of the Great Pipe"; The Onondaga, who were the "name bearers" who kept the wampum belt that contained the history of the Iroquois; the Oneida, the "stone people" symbolized by the Great Tree; and lastly the Mohawk, the "keepers of the eastern door". Further more the bands at each end is an open for to any Nation to join in the Great Law of Peace. To date on the Tuscarora (the 6th Nation) has even joined the confederacy