The wampum belt of the Haudenosaunee records the five nations, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk, burying their weapons to live in peace. Each square represents a nation and the line connects each nation in peace. The center symbol represents Onondaga where tribal leaders buried their weapons under the Tree of Peace.

by Michael Whittaker

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) historian and author Darren Bonaparte brings his display of wampum to the Merrickville Blockhouse Museum the weekend of June 9-10.

Wampum, consisting of purple and white shell beads, were used by Eastern Woodland First Nations for diplomatic, ceremonial, commercial, and ornamental purposes. Darren has made his presentations on wampum to academic and public audiences in Canada and the United States.

The wampum exhibit is the second of three activities organized by the Merrickville and District Historical Society to mark June as Indigenous History Month.

On Sunday, June 3, Haudenosaunee dancers and storytellers performed. Merrickville author and historian Laurie Carter has a presentation on Sunday, June 17 on Klee Wick, as West Coast artist Emily Carr was called early in her career by the First Nations of Vancouver Island.

The official season opening of the Blockhouse Museum is Saturday, June 23. Although more subdued than recent openings, this year the Historical Society plans to repatriate an 1890’s tunic and kepi to the Voltigeurs de Quebec. The rebuilt armoury of this famous primary reserve regiment was inaugurated this past May, following a devastating fire in 2011.

In commemoration of Merrickville-Wolford 225, the Merrickville and District Historical Society has scheduled 15 events for the summer.


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