Another significant mode of symbolic literacy that Indigenous people created and relied on to record and share knowledge was and remains wampum belts. There are many significant aspects of wampum belts such as the material relied upon and the meaning inherent in the icons and symbols woven into the belts. While many people rely on the discourse of “fake”, “imitation”, and “reproduction” when they encounter wampum belts made with glass beads I do not.
It is my preference to refer to the wampum belts I re-created with glass beads − as a part of my doctoral work − as “new editions” because I know that the knowledge inherent in the icons and symbols is the lived and embodied knowledge within the hearts and minds of Indigenous people. It is my preference to stress that they are new editions because I know full well that the knowledge is very real and not fake or a reproduction. In doing this I honour the people and the knowledge they hold.
This is a part of the story that I offer people when I open my 1764 Treaty at Niagara Wampum Bundle that codifies an Indigenous understanding of Canada’s constitutional beginnings. Debwewin.
If you or your organization is interested in learning more about my Wampum Bundle and/or inviting me in to share this knowledge visit my website at www.lynngehl.com or click here: http://www.lynngehl.com/the-truth-that-wampum-tells-tour-canadas-constitutional-history-through-wampum-diplomacy.html