Photographs (left to right): Mohave Desert, California, Lance Creek, Wyoming; Coso, California

Wampum Belt Archive


Mohawk: Two Dog Wampum Belt of Kahnehstake

MCM M1904

McCord Museum, Montreal, Canada

Mohawk. Circa: 1787

Reproduction Richard Hamell

July 23 2011

Original Size:

Length: 60.5 inches. Width: 7.5 inches. Rows wide: 27.


Length: 83.75 inches. Width: 12.0 inches. Rows wide: 27. Length w/fringe: 96.0 inches


Rows: 484 long; 27 rows wide. 13,068 beads.


Deer hide, red ochre. Reproduction: Deer hide with artificial sinew.


Cat. # M1904.

According to the oral tradition (Brian Deer, 2007) the Two Dog wampum belt was made when the people of Kahnehstake moved from the island of Montreal to their present location at the Lake of Two Mountains in 1721. Years later the chiefs reminded colonial officials of the message it contained: " see this white line which shows the length of our land. The figures with hands clasped who rejoin the cross represents the loyalty which we owe to the faith that we hold. The body represents the council-fire of our village. The two dogs at the outside are supposed to guard the boundaries of our land, and if anyone attempted to interrupt our possession it is their duty to warn us by barking ..."


The following speech was addressed to Sir John Johnson Bart., Superintendent-General and Inspector-General of Indian Affairs, by the principal chiefs of the Village of Lake of Two Mountains afore-said in Council. The principal speaker is Mohawk Chief Aughneetha.

Montreal Feb. 8, 1787

Father, we thank the Great Spirit for the satisfaction we have in seeing you here today in good health, and we earnestly pray He will take you under His protection and grant you a long life of uninterrupted happiness that you may still continue to guide and direct your poor ignorant children and relieve their distressed Women and Infants.

Father, we beg you will clear your eyes and open your ears that you may fully comprehend what we are going to say to you.

Father, the minds of our old men have been a good deal disturbed lately and our hearts still continue to be sorely grieved, for we begin to be sensible that our distresses are greater than we apprehended, and we fear we will be a poor neglected People unless you will stretch out your hand to relieve us and your endeavors to quiet the fears of your ignorant Children.

Father, before the Wall was built around this Town, we lived at the foot of the Mountain, near to where the Priests of the Seminary have their Country seat, where we resided in peace and tranquility a considerable time, when the Priest settled amongst us, and the other clergy of the Island, represented in Council the inconveniences arising to the White People from our living so near a Town, particularly the disorders committed by some of our Young Men (as they alleged) when they got Rum, and they exhorted us strenuously to remove farther off from the Town, where we would be more quiet and happy, and pointed out to us Sault au Recollet as the spot near to the Priests’ Mills, accordingly we complied, left our habitations and moved with our Wives and Children to the place allotted for us, where we resided for twenty three or twenty four years, when again our Priest (in conjunction with the Clergy of the Seminary of Montreal) told us we should remove once more with our Families, for that it was no longer proper that any Indians should live on this Island, and that if we would consent to go and settle at the Lake of Two Mountains we should have a large tract of land for which we should have a Deed from the King of France as our property, to be vested in us and our Heirs for ever, and that we should not be molested again in our habitations. Altho’ it was very inconvenient to us to be quitting our houses and small clearings, yet the desire of having a fixed property of our own induced us to comply, and we accordingly set out and took possession of the Land assigned to us, and as was the custom of our Forefather, we immediately set about making a Belt (which we now deliver to you), by which our Children would see that the Lands was to be theirs for ever, and as was customary with our Ancestors, we placed the figure of a Dog at each end of the Belt to Guard our property and to give notice when an enemy approached, and as soon as it was finished we spread it on the ground and covered it with earth, that no evil-minded persons should find it, where it remained undisturbed till about seven years ago, when a dispute arose between us and some Canadians living near us, who first settled on our Lands under the idea of trading with us, and who a out this time wished to make some agreement with us for their lots, if we would engage to prevent our Cattle from breaking into their Lots and the use of the common a Dollar for each head of Cattle they possessed. The matter was referred to our late Priest, who said half a Dollar would be sufficient, and on our refusing to comply with his decision, he told us not to insist on any terms, for that the Land did not belong to us, no, not as much as the smallest shrub. However, the Canadians agreed to pay us annually a Dollar a head for the Cattle &c., possessed by the Canadians, and altho’ this matter was then settled the declaration of our Priest hung heavy on our minds and made us uneasy ever since.

Father, you are well acquainted with our situation previous to the last French War, and that we were under necessity of taking an active part with the King of France, but before Montreal was taken by the English, many of us became sensible of our error and, as a first step towards a reconciliation with our Father the King of England, came to a resolution to return all the prisoners taken by us during the war—accordingly, we collected them and conveyed them to your worthy Father the late Sir William Johnson, at Fort Johnson, who received us kindly and accepted our submissions, and soon after sent us back with a message to the seven Nations of Canada to acquaint them that the Great King of England was still willing to forgive the errors of the poor deluded Indians of Canada, who were ensnared into the Quarrel, and that he would receive all those who sincerely repented and would come in and sue for protection, but if, after this warning, they still persisted in their former conduct, and blindly rushed to make any opposition to the army that would soon march into their Country. He would extirpate all those Nations and raze their Villages to the Ground. We returned to Canada and faithfully delivered this message, which was attended to by a great many of our people, but some of our Young men were still head strong and would not believe that the French General would be obliged to quit America, as they were told. Soon after we received another message at our village from Sir William Johnson, who was then at Oswegatchie, to the same purport as the one we brought in and farther telling us that it should be the last we would receive from him while he looked upon us as Enemies. We immediately called a Council and determined to accept of the protection held out to us, and accordingly the principal men of our Village, as well as those of the other Villages, attended Sir William Johnson at Oswegatchie, where he received the submissions of all the Deputies from Canada, and there in a full Council granted us protection in the Kings’ name, and confirmed to us our Lands as Granted by the King of France, and the free exercise of our Religion, with the indulgence of a Priest to reside in our Village, in confirmation of which we delivered us the Belt, which we now lay at your feet, and had we any doubts respecting the Tenure by which we held our Lands we would then Petition to have a new Deed lodged with Sir William in trust for us.

We have now opened our hearts and made our fears known to you, and we trust you are sensible that our minds labor under a heavy burden, from which it is our earnest prayer that you will endeavor to relieve us, and use your interest with the Governor-in-Chief, Lord Dorchester, that a new Deed for the Lands we live on be made out for us, and that we may hold them on the same tenure that the Mohawks at Grand River and Bay of Quinte hold theirs.

Delivers the large Belt of twenty-seven Rows made on the occasion of the first settlement of the Indians at the Lake of Two Mountains.

Simon Clarke


The above document provided by Darren Bonaparte. See Lainey (2012) for more information.

Stolle, Nickolaus (2016): Purchased from David Swan, brother of Joseph Onasakenrat, who wore it in 1868, Mohawk at Kanehsatake.


Bonaparte, Darren. 2011. Personal Communications.

Deer, Brian. 2007. Wampum and the Iroquois: A Short Overview. Indigenous People Of North America Website. Univ. Mass. at Amherst. Museum of

Canadian History
690 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec  H3A 1E9Phone: (514) 398-7100
Fax: (514) 398-5045
E-mail: [email protected]

Lainey, Jonathan C. 2012.  Histoire autochtone: les colliers de wampum comme supports mémoriels : le cas du Two-Dog Wampum », dans A. Beaulieu, M. Papillon et S. Gervais, Les Autochtones et le Québec, Montréal, Presses de l’Université de Montréal, Collections Paramètre (à paraître, 2012).