Photographs (left to right): Jack Rabbit, California, Amicalola Falls, Georgia; Teddy Bear Cactus, California

Wampum Belt Archive

 

McDouall Peace Wampum Belt

After Hallan Drawing 1852

Commanding Officer Ft. Mackinac 1812-1814

Replica (ActiveHistory.CA)

Original Size:
Rows: 15
Reproduction:
 
Beads:
 
Materials:
 
 

Description:

From speech in 1847 at Drummond Island. the Ottawa, Chippawa, and Wenabago, numering about 350, assembled and requested council. Lt. Col. McKay, the Indian Dept. Superintendent's Marque presided .

"The Chiefs did de camp, laying down a broad Wampum Belt, made in 1764 (NIagara Treaty); one made in 1786 (Ottawa Treaty; and one marked Lieutenant Colonel Mc Dowal, Commanding, Michilimackinac, with a Pipe of Peace marked on it (above).

 

 

 

Quote Bardeau (2011)
This belt was to secure peace after the war of 1812. During the 1812 War, the Three Fires Confederacy (Odawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi) allied with the British. The war was lost to the Americans. The British then ceded their allies’ lands to the allies and to the Americans, which greatly angered the Confederacy. They not only lost their territories, they were not told that the War of 1812 was over. In 1815, British Lieutenant Colonel McDouall sent Chief Assiginack to present McDouall’s own wampum to “proclaim the peace” to nations on the Eastern side of Lake Michigan after the War of 1812 was over.

The Ontario Archaeological Report of 1901 described this belt:

Figure 28. It consists of fifteen strings, each containing 608 beads, or a total of 9,120 beads. The only pictograph on the belt is that of a peace-pipe, the rest consisting of the name of Lieut.-Col. McDouall, who relieved Mackinaw in 1814 when the Americans threatened it, and held command at the post for some time afterward.

But the belt-maker was almost as sparing in the use of letters as the Latin epigraphists. It is also worthy of notice that the spelling of Mackinaw (McKinac) shows that the belt-maker mistook the post for a Highland Scotsman. Or it may be that the presence of so many persons of that nationality among the early fur-traders had already begun to leave its marks upon American spelling. Mr. Hallen pencilled on the margin, "year 1815," which no doubt shows when it was presented. At the ending of this belt is written : "To the upper row of beads at the end some thread was tied with two white china beads on it very clear, not transparent.
Leathers, 3 to 4 inches long at each end."

Belt Name - Spelling

Scott Meachum (2015) suggest a difference explanation for the McDouall belt. His research indicated the alternative spelling of Mackinaw as "McKinac" was likely attributed to the commonly used "Mackinac"; a shortened from the original Michilimackinac: the place of the great turtle. He pointed out the city of Mackinaw uses the later version, but the Isand and Straits of Mackinac retain the proper and more original spelling place name. Whether it's spelled Mackinaw or Mackinac it is always pronounced the same with the "aw" sound at the end.

On the belt the word starts with "Mc" and is spelling consistent for that period of time.

"This is a period in a time of as yet to be standardized English spellings for many common, proper English words let alone Native American names. The fort on Mackinac Island that Lt. Col. McDouall was appointed commandant of was named Ft. Mackinac. The abbreviated spelling of the beginning of the name Mackinac is likely more due to his English education and lack of expertise in Native spellings and less to due with his being a Scotsman or the belt maker mistaking the post name for a Highland man. The abbreviated beginning also requires less beads which may have been less readily available during the conflict" (Meachum, 2015). 

Reference:

ActiveHisory.CA http://activehistory.ca/2014/11/jean-baptiste-assiginack-the-starling-aka-blackbird/

Bardeau, Phyllis Eileen Wms. 2011. Definitive Seneca: It's In The Word. Jaré Cardinal, editor. Seneca-Iroquois Museum Publisher, Salamanca, New York, 443pp.

Corbiere, Alan. 2014. Jean Baptiste Assiginack: The Starling aka Blackbird. ActiveHistory.CA http://activehistory.ca/2014/11/jean-baptiste-assiginack-the-starling-aka-blackbird/

Hallan, 1852. Annual Archaeological Rept. 1899. Fig. 4.

Meachum, Scott. 2015. Personal Communications.