Photographs (left to right): Aster, Rush, New York; Orb Spider, Rush, New York; Skeleton Plant, San Rafael, Utah

Wampum Belt Archive


Black Snake Belt

Fragment of Blacksnake's Belt

Photography Courtesy New York State Museum

Reproduction R. D. Hamell Feb. 11 2013

Length: 6.25 inches by 2.5 inches. Rows: 55 by 9.

Beaded Length: 18.2 inches by 4.1 inches. Total w/fringe: 42.2.

Reproduction: estimation of original length belt.

109 rows by 9 wide: 981 beads.

Artificial sinew on leather.


This belt was sent by Chief Black Hawk, the famous Sauk leader and patriot of the Indian nations at Traverse Bay, Michigan, with a message that their people should remain neutral during the campaigns and Indian revolts at Michilimackinac.

This is part of a personal belt belonging to Tëwönyas (Chainbreaker).

Tah-won-ne-ahs was born between 1737 and 1760, and died in 1859.

Governor Blacksnake was a Seneca War Chief who fought on the side of the British during the American Revolutionary War from 1777 to 1783, most notably at the Battle of Oriskany.

Tah-won-ne-ahs or Thaonawyuthe, known in English as either Chainbreaker to his own people or Governor Blacksnake to the European settlers, was a Seneca war chief and sachem.

Note:Reproduction belt consist of more rows of beads to approximate the length of the original belt.


Anderson, Lisa, 2013, NYS Museum. Personal Communications

Bardeau, Eileen Wms., Edited by Jaré Cardinal, 2010. Definitive Seneca: It's In The Word. Published by Seneca-Iroquois National Museum.

Wampum Shop, Six Nations of the Grand River territory, near Brantford, Ontario, 3080 4th Line, RR#1, Ohsweken, ON, 519-445-2100. WebSite