Photographs (left to right): Silver Pennies, Rush, New; Canadian Geese, Mendon Ponds Park, New York; Rio Grande, New Mexico

Wampum Belt Archive


Iroquois Divided Wampum Belt

One-half of the original belt (15 Fires: Greenville Treaty).

From a watercolor by Grider 1897. NMAI 196605.000


Original Size:

18.5 inches








The following is the description written on the illustration Rufus A. Grider. George R. Hamell provided me with an electronic copy of the correspondence he had received from Mr. William Sturtevant's manuscript (Iroquois Conference, 1983). Inscription in the lower right-hand corner of the bottom illustration reads: "the U.S. Mohawks name the new league the beginning of the great HO-DA-NO-SEN-NEE or the League of the Iroquois".

"The Confederacy of the 5 Nations was recorded by a Symbol, a great Belt of Wampum, of which the above represents the one half, in 1775 they disagreed, the greater portion decided to side with the British, a potion of the Senecas and Oneidas decided to aid the Settlers. That divided the Confederacy, they had always before acted in unison, the Belt was cut in the middle, each party took on half, that part showing the emblem of agreement was cut out as shown above, the beads removed. The Canadian Indians own one portion the Reservation Indians of New York the other half. The above and other belts are now 1897 deposited for safe keeping in the Vault of the Canajoharie National Bank for safe keeping. " [RAGrider, 1897]

NMAI recorded:

"This belt, probably a presentation of Sir William Johnson by the League of the Iroquois, was purchased circa 1890 by the late A. G. Richmond, of Canajoharie, New York, from a Captain Voorhees. When Captain Voorhees died his historical effects were disposed of at an auction at which the Boston Museum purchased several items that were authenticated as having belonged to Sir William Johnson."

Belt illustration is said to reside in the NMAI (Rick Hill).


Hamell, G. R. 2009. Personal Communications.

National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)