Photographs (left to right): Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida; Capital Reef National Park, Utah; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

Wampum Belt Archive


Tadodaho (Presidential) Belt

NYSM E-37428 Original (Clarke, 1931)

Reproduction R. D. Hamell

July 16 2008


Original Size:

Length: 27 inches. Width: 14 inches. Rows: 45.


Beaded length: 29.5. Width: 20.25 inches. Total length with fringe: 49.5 inches.


Rows: 176 by 45 beads wide. Total beads: 7,920.


Warp: Leather. Weave: Artificial Sinew.


A remarkably wide belt (the second widest known) woven on buckskin thongs. This belt is somewhat similar in general appearance to the "Wing," or "Dust Fan Belt" (cat. no. 37420) and may be contemporaneous, if not made by the same person. The design consists of a series of large overlapping purple triangles which are regularly arranged over the length. Along its central axis appears a chain of 14 small white open diamond-shaped figures. The background is made in white beads.

This is an Onondaga belt and sometimes termed the "Presidential." It is known to have been longer at one time and bore 16, instead of 14, diamonds, as at present. The chain of diamonds has been represented as signifying a covenant, or a chain of friendship, always "to be kept bright." The belt was employed during council meetings of the Six Nations and, according to Thomas Webster, (Beauchamp, '01, p. 412) it was "the first belt used by the principal chief" at such meetings. It was placed in the custody of the Onondaga wampum keeper at Onondaga in 1847 and is considered a comparatively modern belt (Clarke, 1931).

Purchased by the institution in 1898 from Mr. Beauchamp. Repatriated in 1989.


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