Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We Stand Together Fact #2

Hi Sheena,
Thanks for choosing to stand together! Here is Daily Fact #2:
Recorded on a beaded Wampum Belt, one of the first treaties between First Nations and Europeans dates to 1645 and was called Kahswenhtha, or “Sharing the same river; steering our own boats.”

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Historically, Wampum belts were often made as a way of recording an agreement or treaty between different First Nations. They were made with Wampum beads, which were carved from a valuable kind of seashell. One of the first peace treaties established between the Iroquois Nation and Europeans in the 1600s was named Kahswenhtha, and was also symbolized by a belt made using Wampum beads.

The Kahswentha belt has two parallel rows of purple Wampum beads on a background of white beads. The white beads symbolize the purity of the peace agreement, and represent “the river of life.” The two rows of purple beads represent the two groups of people involved in the agreement: namely, the First Nations Peoples and the Europeans.

Kahswenhtha embodies the concepts of peace, friendship and respect. It was created to emphasize the peaceful co-existence of the Europeans with the First Nations Peoples. “Sharing the same river; steering our own boats” refers to the two very different cultures, customs, traditions and ways of life of the two Peoples. With the signing of the treaty, both Peoples agreed to follow their respective customs without interfering with those of the other.

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