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Oct 25, 2023
‘These wampums are very often the witness of past alliances,’ says curator.
More than 40 wampum belts from public and private institutions in Quebec, Canada and Europe are now on display at a museum in Montreal to shed light on the powerful cultural and political symbolism of these significant objects.
Wampum: Beads of Diplomacy is a new exhibit at the McCord Stewart Museum with a history that spans more than four centuries.
Jonathan Lainey, who hails from the Huron-Wendat Nation and curated the exhibit, said these “belts of truth” convey messages that were meant to be preserved.
“These wampums are very often the witness of past alliances and agreements and treaties, so to say that, to me, is basically saying that these belts are at the foundations of Canada that we know today,” Lainey said.
Wampum belts were made from shell beads and exchanged between Indigenous nations, including European nations during diplomatic meetings.