Wampum Belts

Focus on the importance of wampum belts for ceremonial and diplomatic purposes, as well as to mark agreements such as Treaties and covenants.

September 1, 2018

See “Living Well Together” on pages 8 to 13 in the We Are All Treaty People issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids.

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Treaty of Niagara, 1764

This wampum belt was woven in 1764. It created a special family relationship between the First Nations groups, known as confederacies, from the Great Lakes region, and the British Crown. That relationship was supposed to mean that, as a family, those involved could disagree but still have respect and love for each other. The Treaty of Niagara has been described as the true founding of what was to become Canada.

Minds on

Explore the symbolism in the wampum belt. Focus on the importance of wampum belts for ceremonial and diplomatic purposes, as well as to mark agreements such as Treaties and covenants.

Hands on

Have students design a wampum belt on graph paper or using Lego/beads to commemorate an important event in their lives using colours symbolically. Once completed, students share the story using their wampum as a visual aid in small groups.

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Commemorating Treaty Relationships

Explore several places and occasions that mark the importance of Treaties and stories about the historic Treaty relationship between First Nations people and the Crown.

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Unceded Land

Explain and expand upon the concept of unceded land.

We Are All Treaty People

Explore the meaning and the significance of the phrase “We are all Treaty People.”

Relationships

Explore the symbolism in the Treaty medal. 

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Have students create an invitation to an event celebrating Treaty Day. 

Making Treaties

Taking a historical perspective means understanding the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past.

Classroom Treaty

Design a classroom Treaty with your students and use it throughout the year as the typical “class rules.”

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