Photographs (left to right): Devils Gate, Natrona County, Wyoming; Capitol Reef National Park; Devils Gate, Natrona County, Wyoming

Wampum Belt Archive

Red Jacket Belt

Original (CLarke, 1931)

ex NMAI 03/1902

Reproduction R. D. Hamell

February 19 2009


Original Size:

Length: 64.5 inches. Width: 5.1 inches. Rows: 15.


Beaded Length: 58.5 inches. Width: 7.0 inches. Length with fringe: 72.5 inches.


Rows: 321 by 15 beads wide. Total beads: 4,815.


Warp: Leather. Weave: Artificial Sinew.


Clarke (1931) described this belt as being the "pictorial representatives of the nine council fires in which he (Red Jacket) took part during his life."

Hill (1989) cast doubt on this interpretation for "it should be noted that Red Jacket could hardly be limited to so few councils since he was such a prominent and leading political figure of the period." He further stated that "it is certain that the interpretation does represent an alliance between the nine towns or nations but what towns or nations have been lost to time."

Six Nations description:

Sagoyewatha’s Peace Plan

The declaration of war by the United States “created very considerable alarm amongst the [Seneca], and to use their own expression, ‘seemed to turn the world upside down,’”according to a Society of Friends writer.

In June, 1812 Seneca, Onondaga and Cayuga Chiefs living at Buffalo Creek came to a council at Grand River. Their motive was to secure a pledge of neutrality on behalf of all Hodinohson:ni. They delivered a wampum belt and a message from Sagoyewatha (Red Jacket): I hope you will not go and make your Children poor by joining the British Government in case of a dispute between them and the Americans. If you do, the Americans say, You will lose all your Land, and that it will be taken from you – that it is wisest for you to remain neutral because the promises the king may make to you, he never will perform. You may remember he did not fulfill his engagements to Captain Brant last war, and I hope you will hearken to what I now tell you.

Fishkahga (Little Billy) asked: Why should we again fight . . . Why then should we endanger the comfort, even the existence of our families, to enjoy their smiles only for the Day in which they need us?

The Grand River Chiefs agreed that there should be neutrality, however, they later made a statement that the friendship between the Hodinohson:ni had ended. Their linked arms began to separate and the Tree of Peace began to falter.

Purchased by George G. Heye in 1907, collected by Thomas R. Roddy in 1899. Repatriated to the Haudenosaunee Council in 1988.


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

Hill, Rick. 1989. Council Fire: A Resource Guide. Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

Six Nations.