Making Treaties and Weaving Wampum: Communication Across Cultures
Objectives: Students will be able to:
Skills Addressed: Linguistic, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal.
Interdisciplinary Connections: History/Social Studies, U.S. Government, Visual Arts/Art History.
Length: Three to four fifty-minute class periods.
Materials: Internet access, colored chalk or poster board/markers. Optional: felt, beads, needle and thread and/or fabric glue.
Products: Timeline of treaties made between Native Americans and the U.S. government between 1776 and 1868; journal entry; drawing of a personal wampum belt; essay comparing and contrasting a written treaty and ceremonial wampum belt. Optional: personal wampum belt made of felt and beads.
Content Introduction: George Catlin traveled to Native American communities at a time of crucial developments in relations between American Indian tribes and the U.S. government. These developments are visible not only in records of written treaties drawn up by the government, but also in wampum belts crafted by Native American tribes to document these important agreements. Wampum belts were used largely by the Iroquois Nations, which consist of the Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Mohawk tribes and are also known as the Haudenosaunee League. The belts hold significant ceremonial and cultural importance as actual manifestations of the values and sentiments surrounding an agreement or event.