Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Wampum Belts


Continued from last week

Hiawatha (Ayonwatha) Belt

The Hiawatha (Ayonwatha) Belt, a broad dark belt of wampum of thirty-eight rows, having a white heart or Great Tree in the center, on either side of which are two white squares, all connected with the heart by white rows of wampum shall be the emblem of the unity of the Five Nations. The first of the squares on the left represents the Mohawk Nation and its territory. The second square on the left and the one near the heart, represents the Oneida Nation and its territo­ry. The white heart or tree in the middle represents the Onondaga nation and its territory, and it also means that the heart of the Five Nations is single in its loyalty to The Great Peace—that the Great Peace is lodged in the heart—(meaning with Onondaga confederate Chiefs), and that the Council Fire is to burn there at Onondaga for the Five Nations. Further, it means that the authority is given to advance the cause of peace whereby hostile nations out of the Confederacy shall cease warfare. The white square to the right of the heart repre­sents the Cayuga Nation and its territory, and the fourth and last square represents the Seneca Nation and its territory. The two lines

extending out from each side of the squares of the belt, from the Mohawk and Seneca Nations, represents the Path of Peace by which other nations are welcomed to travel, to come and take shelter beneath the Great Tree of Peace or join the Iroquois Confederacy. White here shall symbolize that no evil or jealous thoughts shall creep into the minds of the leaders, the Chiefs, while in council under the Great Peace. White, in this case, is the emblem of peace, love, chari­ty, and equity, and it surrounds and guards the Five Nations.


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