Photographs (left to right): Suwannee River Park Live Oaks, Florida; Burgess Falls, Tennessee; Suwannee River Park Live Oaks, Florida

Wampum Belt Archive

Huron Blame the Ottawa

Hypothetical Reproduction (R. D. Hamell: Oct. 30, 2018)


Original Size:



Beaded length: 28.3 inches. Width 2.3 inches. Total length with fringe: 48.3 inches.


Rows: 123 by 6 beads wide. Total 738 beads


Beads: acrylic clay. Warp: leather. Weave: artificial sinew.


The original belt was presented to Sir William Johnson on July 17 1764 at the treaty conference at Fort Niagara. It was the 11th belt given by the Huron and described as a belt of 6 rows "blamed the Ottawas; acknowledge King George as their head.

Fort Niagara Belt #11 The background color of this belt and size was not given in the description, but given the seriousness the belt would likely have been purple. The 6 squares represent the nations of the Huron Confederacy: Wendat, Ataronahronons (People of the Marsh), Tahontaenrats (People of the Deer) Attigneenongnaheas (People of the Cord), Attignawantans (People of the Bear) Arewndarhonons (Peoples of the Rock); human on the end King George.

Daniel Harrison provided more detailed information from an 1860 reprint

"It's an 1860 reprint of a compilation of documents relating to Pontiac's Rebellion. The Diary is generally considered to be Elihu Hay's. A letter from Sir William Johnson to General Gage, dated December 23, 1763, states in part: "The Hurons of Detroit from the concurring Accounts of all Persons were with the utmost Difficulty and by severe Threats, persuaded to engage in the War by the Otta­was under Pondiac, who with the before mentioned Shawanese and Delawares have sufficiently shown them- selves as principals in the War." The letter begins on p.210 (p.243 of the .pdf file); the quote appears on p.212 (245). On the first page of the Journal (p. 158 of the .pdf), the "Tawas" (Ottawas) are blamed. On .pdf page245, a Mohawk informant tells Johnson that the Ottawas blame the Senecas! Now this is getting personal! Best part is, there's an index at the back that covers the entire volume. You'll notice that our Chippewa friend Wabbicomicot appears several times. His stated position at Niagara in 1764, as having tried to keep the peace, is supported here, I believe. All in all, I think your proposed reconstruction of Belt 11 sends the message that the Wyandot, by representing their position as being within the Huron Confederacy, were putting some distance between themselves and the guilty Ottawa. This contrasts with, but does not contradict, the Five Circles belt #44 which, after all, represented the Ojibwe/Chippewa position that the Four Nations at Detroit wished to return to the 1761 status quo ante bellum, and had tried to persuade "bad Indians" (i.e., Pontiac) not to go to war."


Mike Spears, a colleague of Harrison wrote:

"the Wyandotte were generally less than willing to support Pontiac in 1763. According to the French Language Diary, published in 1958 by Milo Quaife, there were two Huron or Wyandotte bands around Detroit. One was more peaceful than the other, Both were forced to participate by Pontiac and the Ottawa, but both were seeking peace long before the siege ended in October. The Ottawa was the most powerful Nation and they were in somewhat of a coallition with the Ojibway (Chippewa) and the Pottawatime Nations. The Wyandotte (Huron) were of a different language group; the former were all Algonquian tribes and the latter was an Iroquion tribe. Have also read that the Wyandotte tribe of Sandusky and a Miami tribe in western Ohio traded with the British in the 1840-1850s, but were disciplined by the Ottawa for doing so and were forced back within the French orbit. (Believe this is from the Louise Phelps Kellogg book). They traded with the British because their goods were cheaper than the goods from the French. The Amherst papers and the Sir William Johnson papers suggest that in early 1761, the more serious culprits were the Seneca and the Mingo (which I believe was a Seneca related tribe); they were the ones pushing for the uprising in the spring of 1761. The Ottawa, Ojibway, Pottawatamie and Wyandotte would have no part of the Seneca plan in 1761, so the Seneca backed down."


Harrison, Daniel. 2018. Personal Communications.

Spears. Mike, 2018. Person Communications.