The Abenaki people live on the borderlands between New England and Canada. They neighbored many other tribes that they maintained diplomatic relationships fir thousands of years. After colonization they also needed to maintain diplomatic relationships with their new neighbors. Wampum belts were and still are used as a way to record important events, treaties and to witness spiritual cermonies such as weddings and funerals. This course will trace wampum from its origins on the eastern coast of the United States and explore many ways that wampum is used in Abenaki culture.
By the end of this course, students will be able to identify what wampum is, what it is made from, who makes it, and be able to explain many ways in which wampum was used in the past and how it continues to be used by Abenaki culture bearers today.