Photographs (left to right): Maplewood Park, Rochester, New York; Lower Falls Gorge, Rochester, New York; Maplewood Park, Rochester, New York

Wampum Belt Archive

New England Jesuit Belt 001


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France holding belt given by the Jesuits to New England Native Tribe.

René Gobillo (1957) reported that:

"Fr Bouvart evangelized the Hurons for five years when in 1678 they decided to offer to Our Lady of Sub-Earth, in testimony of their faith, a belt of pearls china of silk red porcupine, with this inscription: VIRGIN PARITURAE VOTUM HURONUM."

See Gobillo's article for more detail. Also see W_New England Jesuit Belt 2.html

A 17th century wampum belt made by the French Jesuit missionaries as expressions of Catholic faith have been shipped from a cathedral in France and were on display at the Sherlburne Museum The following was the write-up of the displayed belts:

"Wampum Belts from Chartres Cathedral Treasury showcases two rare masterpieces of Native American art on loan from the Bishop of Chartres and the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Chartres and on view in the United States for the first time. The belts will be on exhibit from July 2 through July 31.

'These belts are a symbol of the rich history of our region and demonstrate the historic connection between the French in North America and their relationship with the Abenaki and Huron peoples,' said Shelburne Museum Director Stephan Jost. 'The caliber of craftsmanship is truly extraordinary and reflects the sophistication of the people who created them.'

Wampum belts are traditional to native peoples from the Eastern woodlands and are an art form used to record important events such as engagements, marriage, funerals or treaties. The two belts on view at Shelburne were made in the 17th century. The Huron belt was made in 1678 and the Abenaki belt was made in 1691 or earlier. Noting the conversion to Catholicism by some of the native peoples, the belts were given to the French Jesuit order. The belts were taken to France and placed in the Cathedral Treasury of Chartres in acknowledgment of their importance."


André, Sanfaçon. 1996. Objets porteurs d’identité dans les consécrations amérindiennes à Notre-Dame de Chartres, 1678-1749, dans Laurier Turgeon, Denys Delâge et Réal Ouellet. Transferts culturels et métissages, Amérique/Europe, XVIe-XXe siècle/Cultural Transfer, America and Europe : 500 Years of Interculturation. Ste-Foy, Presses de l’Université Laval, 1996 : 449-466.

Doublet de Boisthibault, François Jules. 1857. Les Voeux des Hurons et des Abnaquis à Notre-Dame de Chartres, publiés pour la première fois d'après les manuscrits des Archives d'Eure-et-Loir avec les lettres des missionnaires catholiques au Canada, une introduction et des notes, Chartres, A. Gouverneur.

Gobillo, René. 1957. THREE EX-VOTO CANADIAN CHARTRES. Journal of the History of French America, Vol. 11, No. 1, p. 42-46.

Lainey, Jonathan. 2004. La Monnaie des Sauvages. Septentrion Publ., pp. 66-67.

Merlet, Luc (Lucien). 1858. Histoire des relations des Hurons et des Abnaquis du Canada avec Notre-Dame de Chartres suivie de documents inédits sur la Sainte Chemise, Chartres [France], Petrot-Garnier.

Verneau, R. 1923.  Deux ceintures en wampum dans la cathédrale de Chartres », L’Anthropologie, tome XXXIII, (1923) : 292-294.