Photographs (left to right): All Mohave Desert, California/Nevada

Wampum Belt Archive


Wyandot Road Wampum Belt

Reproduction R. D. Hamell

November 11 2011


Original Size:

Not given except bead length: 425 and bead width: 25


Beaded length: 44.3 inches. Width: 11.2 inches. Length w/fringe: 68.3inches.


Rows: 265 by 25 beads wide. Total: 6,625 beads.


Warp: deer leather. Weave: artificial sinew.


There is no known image of the original belt. The style of the figures used to depict this belt are a 'hybrid' of those found on the Canandaigua Treaty Belt and others. The depiction of the New York Governor (far left - outlined body), the five nations of the Iroquois (solid bodies), and the Wyandot far (right) holding a hatchet. I am indebted to Darren Bonaparte, Akwesasne Mohawk, for his assistance in reconstructing another 'lost' belt to history.

Excerpt from Weiser (1748):

"8th. Had a Council with the Chiefs of the Wondats; enquired their number, & what occasioned them to come away from the French, What Correspondence they had with the Six Nations, & whether or no they had ever had any correspondence with the Government of New York; they inform’d me their coming away from the French was because of the hard Usage they received from them; That they wou’d always get their Young Men to go to War against their Enemies, and wou’d use them as their own People, that is like Slaves, & their Goods were so dear that they, the Indians, cou’d not buy them; that there was one hundred fighting Men that came over [30] to join the English, seventy were left behind at another Town a good distance off, & they hoped they wou’d follow them; that they had a very good Correspondence with the Six Nations many Years, & were one People with them, that they cou’d wish the Six Nations wou’d act more brisker against the French; That above fifty Years ago they made a Treaty of Friendship with the Governor of New York at Albany, & shewed me a large Belt of Wampum they received there from the said Governor as from the King of Great Britain; the Belt was 25 Grains wide & 265 long, very Curiously wrought, there were seven Images of Men holding one another by the Hand, the 1st signifying the Governor of New York (or rather, as they said, the King of Great Britain), the 2d the Mohawks, the 3d the Oneidos, the 4th the Cajugas, the 5th the Onondagers, the 6th the Senekas, the 7th the Owandaets [Wyandots], the two Rows of black Wampum under their feet thro’ the whole length of the Belt to signify the Road from Albany thro’ the 5 Nations to the Owendaets; That 6 Years ago, they had sent Deputies with the same Belt to Albany to renew the Friendship."

The following is a notation on this belt's similarity to the traditions story affiliated with the Two Row Belt by Darren Bonaparte - Wampum Chronicles.

"[I'm] not sure if [everyone] is are aware of the so-called two row "controversy," that is, that some scholars believe the Iroquois story about the boat and canoe on the two row is a recent invention.  (I allude to this on the two row article on my web site.)  I suspect that that the boat and canoe metaphor is not linked to the two row wampum in the historical records because the two rows are actually representative of the "road" between various nations that are "cleared of brambles, thorns and weeds" at the beginning of councils.  This road, back in Indian times, was a single footpath but with the arrival of Europeans became a double path due to the use of wagon wheels carrying trade goods.  This seems to be supported by the Wyandot belt given to them by the English via the 5 Nations in the late 1600's."

Rick Hill suggested the figures feet may have actually rested on the 'road' as depicted in other christian wampum belts such as depicted in the Two Dog Christian Mohawk Belt.


Ann Hunter (personal communications: 2023) provided more information on the description of this belt as recorded in the Indian Commissioner Records ( ):


To summarize, volume 2 of the records on page 253A and following describes how on July 30, 1743, several "Dionondades" [Tionondaties or Wyandots], including a leader named "Rondoenie" [Orontony], came to Albany to renew a covenant made 40 years earlier and commemorated by a belt, which they brought with them. They asked the Commissioners to tell them the details of the agreement since "as you write down all things you can easily know what it was that was then agreed on."  On August 2d, 1743, the commissioners recounted several articles in the agreement made 40 years before. They referred to the belt which "was given your forefathers by the then Commissioners of Indian Affairs here at Albany to Confirm the Covenant then made  [...]" and explained its significance as follows (II-254A):

"[...] you may see by the device on this great Belt in A great measure what That Covenant Imports of which it is given as A Confirmation, you see At the one End of the Belt A Tree which is the Tree planted here and next to the Tree is a man whiter than the rest who Signifies the English, the five men which Stand Next Signifies the five Nations and the Last one signifies your Nation who you see has A Chain in his hand which is faste[ne]d to the Tree which signifies That we and you Are All joyned in the same one Common Covenant Chain with the five Nations [...]"

The Tionontatie-Wyandot visitors thanked the Albany Indian Commissioners for making a covenant linking them with the Five Nations, especially because they had previously been at war with each other, and asked them to keep the covenant inviolable. The Wyandots explained a little more about the belt. Although the commissioners had only mentioned a "chain" linking the people depicted on the belt, the Wyandots talked about a path. They said "the path marked out in the belt of wampum alludes to trade which as you say was also spoken of in the covenant..." The commissioners promised to keep the path open, whether or not they were at war with the French. I'm attaching a more complete transcription of the relevant excerpts from the records.


Clearly there are some differences between the two descriptions. Weiser does not mention the tree next to the light skinned man who represents the English, nor does he refer to a chain representing the Covenant Chain.  Instead he talks about a double row of black wampum that represents the road running from the Wyandots to Albany. The Indian Commissioners do not mention a road in their initial explanation of the belt, but in their response the Wyandots refer to a path depicted on the belt and linking them to Albany by way of the Five Nations. Presumably what Weiser calls a road, the Wyandots call a path. 

I am relying heavily here on an entry by William Hunter in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography for Nicolas Orontony, the Wyandot leader who brought the belt to Albany. It links Orontony and the belt to both the meeting with the Commissioners in 1743 and the meeting with Weiser in 1748, despite the very different ways that Orontony's name was spelled by the Commissioners ("Rondoeny") and Weiser ("Wanduny"). (See Both meetings were part of the process by which Orontony's group of Wyandats broke away from the French and allied themselves with the English. 

In my opinion, the discrepancies between the two accounts of the belt probably reflect the fact that the parties focused on particular symbols to illustrate the point they were making at a given moment.



Bonaparte, Darren. 2011. Personal Communications.

Hill, Rick. 2011. Personal Communications.

Hunter, Ann. 2023. Personal Communication.

Weiser, Conrad. 1748. Conrad's Weiser's Journal or A Tour To The Ohio August 11 - October 2, 1748. Pennsylvania Colonial Records, v. pp. 348; with variations from Pennsylvania Historical Collections, i, pp. 22-33.