Parley and Protocol: Abenaki Diplomacy Past and Present

This is an example of a wampum belt that could be used in diplomatic proceedings about war.
Wampum belt. Courtesy of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Fort Necessity National Battlefield, U. S. National Park Service site approached the Elnu Abenaki Tribe with the idea of developing an exhibit relating to when Abenaki warriors traveled to Pennsylvania to support their French allies during the French and Indian War. The theme of Parley and Protocol was inspired by historic political interactions between the Abenaki and their allies, the etiquette and procedures that were involved in treaty making. Sôgemô (Chief) Roger Longtoe Sheehan of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe explains how those diplomatic procedures are still in use today. “Upon gaining state recognition in Vermont, our chiefs presented the state with a wampum belt and wampum strands representing each tribe, together with a pipe and traditional ceremonial tobacco…” 

The special exhibition Parley & Protocol: Abenaki Diplomacy, Past & Present was developed for the Fort Necessity National Battlefield, U. S. National Park Service site by the Elnu Abenaki Tribe in partnership with the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Curated by Vera Longtoe Sheehan.

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