Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

George Washington Belt

 

Reprinted from Wampum Belts of the Iroquois by Tehanetorens

This belt, called the George Washington Belt, is a covenant belt with the thirteen original United States. The thirteen large figures of men represent the thirteen states, their hands joined in friendship with the two center figures which are standing at each side of a house. The two center men are the Mohawks (Keepers of the Eastern Door of the Long House or Iroquois Confederacy) and the Senecas (Keeper or Door-keeper of the western part of the League). This belt commemorates the Treaty of Peace made during Washington's presidency.

Among promises made by the United States in this treaty was that the United States acknowledged the lands reserved to the Six Nations to be the property of the Six Nations and that the United States would never disturb or claim these lands, that the lands were to remain theirs until they chose to sell the same to the United States, who alone had the right to purchase. The United States also promised that they would protect the Six Nations from any (outside alien force), including separate states, and that it would not interfere nor let anyone else interfere in the internal affairs of the Six Nations. The Six Nations, in their usual Indian way, held the treaty inviolate. Had the white man honored this treaty, all western New York State would be owned by the Iroquois. In token of this treaty, the United States still gives certain Iroquois three or four yards of calico cloth each autumn. The Iroquois today live in hopes that the white citizens of the state and nation will see that the promises of justice and fair play promised in this treaty will be carried out. They, themselves, have kept faith for over 200 years.

 

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