Photographs (left to right): California Deserts

Wampum Belt Archive

 

One Spoon, One Dish Wampum Belt

The photocopy appears to have been made from a photograph in the collection of the Newberry Library. The photograph and belt is attributed to the Royal Ontario Museum.

Reproduction: Richard D. Hamell 10/03/2010

Original Size:
Est. Length: 23.0 inches. Rows: 7.
Reproduction:
Beaded Length: 28.5 inches. Rows 7. Length with fringe: 52.5 inches.
Beads:
Rows: 171. Wide: 7.Total Beads: 1,197
Materials:
Warp: Leather. Weave: Artificial Sinew.

Description:

It is the first recorded treaty between the Ojibwa and the Six Nations of the Iroquois confederacy (Mallery, 2006,p. 231).

Gilkison (1928, p. 50) wrote the description given by Chief John Skanawait Buck in 1887:

"all white except for a round purple patch in the centre": "This represents all Indians on the continent. They have entered into one great league and contract that they will be all one and have one heart. The spot in the centre is a dish of beaver, indicating that they will have one dish and what belongs to one will belong to all." Krehbiel also mentioned this belt: "One belt which showed in its middle an oblong figure with a spot in its center, Buck said was the record of a treaty granting hunting and fishing privileges, that is to say, the tribes exchanging the belts agreed to use certain hunting and fishing territory in common. When asked how this was symbolized by the design on the belt, Buck explained that the parallelogram was a dish, the spot in its center a piece of meat" (cited in Beauchamp I90I: 4i6).

In 1690, the Five Nations sent eight wampum belts to the First Nations who gathered for trade at Michilimackinac. The belts were made of shells or beads, and the symbolic images they depicted, like documents, were capable of being “read.” According to French historian Bacqueville de la Potherie, one of the Iroquois wampum belts proposed a peace treaty by suggesting that the disputants should have “their own bowl, so that they might have but one dish from which to eat and drink,” a metaphor for the shared use of the disputed hunting grounds. The offer appears to have been rejected. In 1699, Iroquois hunters were killed near Detroit while hunting beaver, apparently at the hands of Ottawa warriors.

In 1701, over sixteen hundred First People delegates from the Great Lakes region attended a council with the assistance of the French Governor, the Chevalier de Callieres, along with a large delegation from the Five Nations Confederacy. There, proposals put forward the year before by the Iroquois for a “tree of peace” and a “dish with one spoon” were ratified. The Aboriginal perspective of what was agreed to at that time, reflected in oral histories, has appeared in the historical record with remarkable consistency over the last three hundred years.

For the Iroquois and the Ojibwa, the “dish with one spoon” marked the end of violent conflict in the hunting grounds north of Lake Ontario (Blair, 1955).

Blair in her article Lament For A First Nation (1955)

By the end of the seventeenth century, the Iroquois, like their enemies, had been weakened by disease and losses in battle. In the winter of 1672-73, Jesuit missionaries observed Iroquois and Mississauga warriors hunting together in the territory of Hudson’s Bay, but elsewhere in Ontario, Iroquois warriors were being attacked by other French-allied Indians known as the “Far Indians.” In 1687, a Cayuga spokesman indicated that the current war with the “far nations” had rendered “our Bever hunting unfree and dangerous.” In 1690, the Five Nations sent eight wampum belts to the First Nations who gathered for trade at Michilimackinac. The belts were made of shells or beads, and the symbolic images they depicted, like documents, were capable of being “read.” According to French historian Bacqueville de la Potherie, one of the Iroquois wampum belts proposed a peace treaty by suggesting that the disputants should have “their own bowl, so that they might have but one dish from which to eat and drink,” a metaphor for the shared use of the disputed hunting grounds. The offer appears to have been rejected. In 1699, Wfty-Wve Iroquois hunters were killed near Detroit while hunting beaver, apparently at the hands of Ottawa warriors. Following the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick between England and France, King Louis XIV agreed to join with the English monarch in calling on their respective Indian allies to cease “all acts of hostility” in the lands north of Lake Ontario. Each King sent a dispatch to his Governor in North America directing each to work with the other and act to “unite their forces ... in obliging these Indians to remain at peace ... as His Majesty does not doubt but that will be productive of tranquility throughout the whole country.” The French King also noted that some of his First Nations allies hoped that a general peace would enable them to cross the otherwise hostile Iroquois homelands and thereby gain access to the lucrative fur markets at Albany, New York. He wrote of the “desire on the part of some of the French [Indian] allies” to have this access “and to share hunting grounds in order to enjoy free movement through Iroquois territory on the north shore rather than continue at war.”

*Newberry's notes on his drawing is misleading: he noted the belt is 8 rows (wide) where it is clear only 7.

Quote (Bardeau (2011)

This belt has a white field with a symbol of rounded dish in the center of the wampum belt. In 1888, Sganawadih (John Buck) of Six Nations interpreted this belt to mean: “This represents all the Ögweoweh on the continent. They have entered into the great league and contract that they will all be one and have one heart, what belongs to one will belong to all.”

Joyce Tekahnawiiaks King writing

“The Peacemaker demonstrated the One Dish/One Spoon principle in an analogy to the fifty Haudenosaunee Roianeson (translated in the English equivalent as chiefs, pronounced low-yaw-neh-soo). Once the Five Nations agreed to unite, the Roianeson sat in a circle to listen to the Peacemaker. The Peacemaker expressed this principle by passing around a bowl of beaver tail, a delicacy among the People of the Longhouse. As the leaders sat in this circle of fifty, the Roianeson took only what they needed, knowing the bowl had to complete its circle. The One Dish demonstrated the collective responsibility of the people to share equally. The spoon revealed an additional symbol lesson here: to avoid a sharp instrument, such as a knife, at a gathering of the people, because knives could cause the spilling of blood. Therefore employing sharp instruments or even sharp words was prohibited.”

Anishinabek Website

The One Dish One Spoon Belt: This Treaty is between the Anishinabek and Haudenosaunee Confederacies. Its symbol uses the purple and white beads that represent friendship and peace. The purple “dish” represents the Continent and the different Nations. The white centre represents “beaver” or the resources. Our Nations are only to eat from the dish with one spoon. This means that we are to share the resources and respect each others territories and we will not war with each other for the dominion of the resources by removing the presence of a knife with the dish and spoon.

ROM Cat# HD12713. Gift of Evelyn H. C. Johnson in 1922.

Reference:

Anishinabek Confederacy: http://oshkimaadziig.org/governing-laws/

Bardeau, Phyllis Eileen Wms. 2011. Definitive Seneca: It's In The Word. Jaré Cardinal, editor. Seneca-Iroquois Museum Publisher, Salamanca, New York, 443pp.

Beauchamp, 1901. Wampum and Shell Articles Used by the New York Indians. NYS Mus. Bull. 41, pp. 321-480.

Blair, Peggy J. 1955. Lament For a First Nation: The Williams Treaties of Southern Ontario. University of British Columbia Press, 29pp,.

Gilkison, Augusta I. Grant. 1928. What Is Wampum? Explained by Chief John Buck. In Thirty-sixth Annual Archaeological Report, Being Part of Appendix to the Report of the Minister of Education, Ontario. Pp. 48-50.

Mallery, Garrick. 2006. Picture-Writing Of The American Indians. Volume 1 of 2, Kessigner Publishing, 5008pp.

Tooker, Elisabeth. 1998. A Note on the Return of Eleven Wampum Belts to the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy on Grand River, Canada. Ethnohistory, Vol. 45, No. 2 (Spring), pp. 219-236.

Two Row Times.Com. http://www.tworowtimes.com/opinions/editorial/the-two-row-times-a-paper-serving-the-dish-with-one-spoon-territory-great-lakes-region/#sthash.hXllWQcA.dpuf