Photographs (left to right): Ohiopyle Falls, Pennsylvania; Hamlin State Park, New York; Cucumber Falls, Pennsylvania

Wampum Belt Archive


Ganondagan Belt


Origin Design Richard D Hamell and Mike Galban (Sept. 04 2015)

Original Size:

Beaded Length: 43.5 inches. Width: 9.0 inches. Length w/fringe: 67.5 inches


see original


Length: 252 rows. Width: 20 rows. Total Beads: 5,040.


Warp: Leather. Weft: Artificial Sinew.



Indian Country Today

It took 30 years and $5 million, but on October 24 the Seneca Art & Culture Center became a reality.

“This is a dream come true! We’ve already seen what it can do,” Ganondagan State Historic Site Manager G. Peter Jemison (Heron Clan/Seneca) said of the center during his Thanksgiving Address on the day of the opening. What it can do is bring people together, as evidenced by that day. Those gathered around were from a number of nations, as well as members from the local Victor, New York community.

Those attendees stood on what was once a large 17th-century Seneca town, with up to 150 longhouses and 4,500 residents. Over the last 30 years, the work to preserve the site has been tremendous.

You’re on a historic site, you’re on a site that was a major Seneca town, so this is where people actually lived and carried out their lives,” Jemison explained. “In the beginning it was just an abandoned farm,” he said of when the preservation process began. The first step was interpretive signage, then came a documentary telling the story about the site called “House of Peace,” then came the Friends of Ganondagan organization, which as a nonprofit could accept donations. The Bark Longhouse was dedicated on the site in 1998. Then the idea came to have a building that would have exhibits and classrooms. That idea has become a reality, and it opened to the public on October 24 with storytelling, exhibit tours, basket making demonstrations, Iroquois social dancing, and a showing of the Iroquois Creation Story.

Mike Galban, historian and site conservator, was instrumental with Richard Hamell to choose the imagery which would represent Ganondagan in the 17th century and in the 21st century. Below is the key to the figures in the Ganondagan Belt.



Barber, Daniel MK. 1961. Fort Hill at Victor, New York. Fourth Report Lewis Henry Morgan Chapter Study Group, Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences, Rochester, NY, April, 4pp.

Parkman, Francis.. 1869. La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West. France and England in North America. Little, Brown and Co. (1897), 524pp.