Photographs (left to right): All La Sals, Utah

Wampum Belt Archive


Penobscot - Onondaga Belt

Reproduction (Tehanetorens, 1999)

Reproduction R. D. Hamell

March 31, 2008

Reproduction belt on staff made by Fred Wiseman at the Winterfire (solstice).

Penobscot Council Belt

NYSM E-37416

Original Size:

Length 22.5 inches. Width, 2.1 inches. Rows: 8. 57.2 cm


Beaded length: 31.5 inches. Width 3.5 inches. Total length with fringe: 44.0 inches.


Rows: 175 by 8 beads wide. Total 1,400.


Warp: artificial sinew. Weave: artificial sinew.


This is a dark purple belt made on hemp thread and carries six double white diagonal bars distributed along its length. At the center is a small white square, the corners of which radiate four white lines to form an X-shaped figure.

It is reputed to have been made by the Iroquois and in the possession of Penobscot Indians at Oldtown, Maine. A. C. Parker ('o8, p. 109) believes the "X" in the center signifies that "it is a command and summons to a condolence council at Onondaga." The dark background' may place it as originally used for condolences ceremonies.

Frank G. Speck identified as a probable Seven Nations wampum belt which after it lost its political significance among the Penobscot it entered private circulation where it was used as a betrothal belt (Hamell. G. 2013).

Penobscot Belt - note that there are six slanting lines, indicating "propping up" or support of six nations, with the central cross shaped design representing pathways to the seventh, central  nation, of Kahnawake.  The Iroquois have taken a lot of Seven Nations Belts and purged their identity and then recast them as Six Nations belts including this one.

Pictured above (photo Courtesy of Fred Wiseman) is a replica belt

Purchased from W. C. Hill of New York City in 1907.


Clarke, Noah T. 1931 New York State Museum Bulletin No. 288, Fig. 30.

Hamell, George R. 2013. Personal Communications.

Wiseman, F. 2013. Personal Communications.