Photographs (left to right): Orange Park; Florida; Monhonk, New York; Orange Park, Florida

Wampum Belt Archive

Illini-Iroquois Belt

Musee de quai Branly, Paris, France

Original (left) Reproduction (right: Hamell, 7/20/10)

Original Size:

Estimated Length: 26 inches by 5.5 inches. Fiber


Beaded Length:40.5 inches. Width: 7.8 inches. Length w/fringe: 64.5 inches.


Rows: 234. Width: 17. Total Beads: 3,978


Warp: Leather. Weave: Artificial Sinew.


This is a Illini (Illinois Confedacy) belt which was previously mistaken as a Huron belt or Iroquois Belt of the 17th or 18th century. Thongs and vegetable fiber cords. Length 84 (cm?). Museum of Paris. Belt probably signifies a war alliance and had been attributed as a 17th Century.

Others have attributed its association with the first French (Champlain) and Huron contacts (Vitart-Fardoulis, 1983, pp. 145-146) although no documentation has been found to substantiate this claim. A similar belt is depicted in a 1688 engraving of the Cabinet of Curiosities of the Abbaye de Ste-Genevieve in Paris. It has also been attributed to the Four Nations of Hurons alliance with Champlain (1611). This association is unlikely as noted by several researchers (Lainey, 2011). In Feest (1973) he stated:"

“It has long been believed original Huron and in relation to the four tribes Huron early seventeenth century. However, based on considerations stylistic, it would be most likely a belt from the Western Great Lakes region, and might be related to the four "clans" ottawa. [...] eighteenth Century”.

C. F. Feest, eds. First Nations, Royal Collection ..., op. cit., 18, 73. In an article published in the American Indian Art Magazine, Feest nuance by saying: "the belt is More Likely to Be of Algonquian (Perhaps Ottawa) manufacture and WAS Probably Made In The Eighteenth Century "; C. F. Feest, "First Nations - Royal Collections, " loc. cit., 52. Of the four clans Outaouais, see Johanna E. Feest and Christina F. Feest, "Ottawa", in William C. Sturtevant, eds. Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 15; Bruce G. Trigger, ed., Northeast (Washington, DC, Smithsonian Institution, 1978), 772-786. Ruth Phillips had already challenged this interpretation when exhibition at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary in 1988, see Julia D. Harrison, The Spirit Sings. Artistic Traditions of Canada's First Peoples. A Catalogue of the Exhibition, (McClelland and Stewart, Glenbow Museum, 1987), 47.


Lainey, J. C. 2011. The so-called wampum offered Champlain and interpretation objects museified. Biblioteque et Archives, Canada.