Irving hosts 400-year-old wampum belts Sunday

Special to the OBSERVER

The public will have the opportunity to see and learn about original Wampum Belts of Native Americans this weekend. Two presentations, both free and open to the public, will take place on Saturday and Sunday as part of the statewide Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, an educational initiative that commemorates 400 years since the first treaty between Haudenosaunee and European settlers.

The first presentation on Saturday takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. at Native American Community Services, located at 1005 Grant St. in Buffalo. Guests are welcome to stay afterward for a potluck dinner and social dances from children with the Seneca Faithkeepers School. The second presentation on Sunday takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. at Cattaraugus Community Center, located at 12767 Route 438 in Irving. Each presentation will conclude with a question-and-answer session with the audience.

The presentations feature Jake Edwards, a Chief of the Onondaga Nation with the title of “Wampum Keeper,” and Dr. Richard Hamell, associate professor emeritus on Monroe Community College’s Department of Geosciences. Each will display and discuss the three original Wampum Belts Two Row, Hiawatha, and the Covenant Chain as well as replicas of 65 other belts throughout history. The Wampum Belts rarely leave the Onondaga Nation and are guarded at all times, as they represent legal documents for the Iroquois Confederacy (Six Nations). The 400-year-old Two Row Wampum Belt outlines a model of friendship, peace between nations and respecting one another’s sovereignty.

For more information about the ongoing statewide Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, visit