Is wampum proof of deal?
New York: The Onondaga and other Iroquois nations are planning events for the
400th anniversary of the first treaty between the Iroquois Confederacy and
Europeans in New York.
But some believe the event never happened. They say a document supporting the "Two Row Wampum" renewal campaign is a fake.
The belt, which is 6 feet long, resides in Canada.
director of the New Netherlands Project and a State Library official, disagrees.
He says the wampum should not be tied to a bogus document.
A quarter-century ago, Gehring joined William
Starna and William Fenton to check out the treaty record written in Old Dutch.
they published a paper
document. They say the
treaty being cited is a poorly crafted fake by a man named
L.G. Van Loon.
They said Van Loon produced a trail of "bogus" 17th-century documents
including a deed to Manhattan and early maps of Albany
and the Hudson River.
Nor could they find a record of the Dutch treaty in Danish archives.
Starna and Gehring have sent their research paper
to groups underwriting plans and events for the Iroquois Two Row Wampum Project.
But the Iroquois believe the record supports the 17th-century agreement between the Dutch and the Iroquois Confederacy. This would mean the treaty promises still hold force today, and that the Two Row Wampum Treaty is the foundation for all treaties that followed.
"We agreed in order to maintain peace ... that we would not pass laws on your boat and you would not pass laws on to us in our canoe," said Onondaga Chief, Jake Edwards.
Andrew Mager is project coordinator for the Two Row Wampum Project.
He contends the scholars' work is less important than the message of friendship
and stewardship between the Iroquois, or
"people of longhouse."
Village © Gina Boltz
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