Photographs (left to right): Orb Spider, Rush, NY; Horsehead Beach, MA; Osprey, Calusa Park, FL

Wampum Belt Archive

 

Treaty of Greenville - 1795

Fallen Timbers Belt

Hypothetical Reproduction of a belt given at the Treaty of Greenville

R. D. Hamell June 6, 2015

 

Original Size:

Unknown. Described as a broad belt

Reproduction:

Beaded length: 33.0 inches by 7.0 inches. With fringe 57.0 inches.

Beads:

Beaded length: 190 columns by 16 wide: 3,040 beads

Materials:

Warp: leather. Weft: artificial sinew.

Description:

There is no evidence this belt still exist. The description given at the Treaty of Greenville stated it was ”a large broad belt of wampum, with a stripe of white beads running down the centre".

Majority of wampum belts were 3 fingers wide suggesting the number of beads in a vertical column to be 7 to 9. So how broad is broad? One of the broadest belt (mat) is 50 beads wide.

I decided a belt of 16 beads width would suffice for a 'broad' belt. The second arbitrary decision was the length (190 rows) of the belt, having a length reflecting its significance to hold the words spoken at the treaty signing.

The following is an excerpt from Wasburn (1973) on the belt presentation. While the belt is referred to by a specific name I have designated it the Fallen Timbers Wampum Belt.

The Wendats’ leading role in trade, diplomacy, and military matters was recognized by the Euroamerican authorities who had dealings with them after contact. In 1795 the Treaty of Greenville was concluded after the Battle of Fallen Timber -  final episode in a long war against the nations of Ohio, who were attempting to safeguard the American West from being opened up to white settlement. The victorious American general, Anthony Wayne, handed over to “representatives of twelve Indian nations ”a large broad belt” of wampum, with a stripe of white beads running down the centre representing a “road’ to the “Fifteen Fires” (the fifteen United States). After referring to “your uncle the Wyandot,” General Wayne concluded with: “I place it [the wampum belt]…in your uncle’s hands, that he may preserve it for you.” This symbolic act confirmed the reconciliation of the United States and the nations of the Ohio. Tar-Hay (the Crane), Great Chief of the Wyandots, was the first to sign the treaty of Greenville, sealing both the peace and the fate of Native people in the American West (Washburn, 1973: 3: 2295-303). The Wyandots lost sixteen of their generals (that is, war chief) in this battle – in other words, almost all (Smith Jr. 1973). Forty-eight years later the Wyandots were the last Amerindians to agree to abandon their Ohio lands and were thereby forced to migrate to Kansas.

Reference:

Smith, Robert E. Jr. The Wyandot Indians, 1843-1876. PhD. Dissertation, Okla. State Univ.
Washburn, W. E. (ed.) 1973. Huron-Wendat: The Heritage of the Circle. Random House Publ.