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The Mediating Role of Wampum in French-Native American Diplomacy (17th-18th Centuries)

Le rôle médiateur du wampum dans la diplomatie franco-amérindienne (xviie-xviiie siècles)
Gilles Havard
Traduction de Saskia Brown
p. 22-39
Cet article est une traduction de :
Le rôle médiateur du wampum dans la diplomatie franco-amérindienne (xviie-xviiie siècles) [fr]

Résumés

Fabriqué à partir de perles en coquillages de mer, le wampum fut un objet de médiation utilisé par les Amérindiens du Nord-Est, particulièrement les Iroquois et les Hurons, dans leurs relations avec les colons de la Nouvelle-France aux xviie et xviiie siècles. Lors des conférences franco-amérindiennes, Autochtones, mais aussi représentants du roi de France, exhibaient ainsi des « colliers de porcelaine » pour faciliter leurs échanges, dans l’esprit de réconciliation et d’apaisement caractéristique de la culture iroquoienne des condoléances. Plus qu’une simple matérialisation de la parole donnée, le wampum était investi par les Amérindiens de qualités sensibles censées garantir l’efficacité même de cette parole.

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1In 1606, in Cape Cod, Samuel de Champlain noticed that the Massachusett-speaking Nauset, “adorn themselves with feathers, porcelain patenôtres [rosaries], and other baubles, which they arrange very neatly in the manner of embroidery”. Five years later, at a summit with the Huron near present-day Montreal, he noticed similar objects that seemed similar to him. In addition to the gift of one hundred and fifty beaver skins to seal the alliance, the Native Americans presented him with “4 carcans [necklaces] of their porcelain (which they value amongst themselves as we do gold chains)” (Champlain 2019 [1600-1619]; Vachon 1970; Lainey 2008). In both cases, Champlain documented the use of wampum — “porcelain,” as it was called in French (Turgeon 2019: 194) — that is, bands of seashell beads used as ornaments and gifts to other groups.

  • 1 The Native Americans, referred to by the French as “Iroquois”, who call themselves Haudenosaunee, “ (...)

2Whether they were rectangular belts, called “colliers” by the French because they were worn round the neck, or the less valuable chaplets (“branches”, “strings”), worn round the wrist, these objects of various sizes were relational tools: according to Colonial chroniclers, they substantiated a verbal pledge. As the soldier Lahontan observed at the end of the 17th century, “one can do no business nor enter into negotiations with the Indians of Canada without these belts,” and a Colonial administrator added: “It is the guarantee of their word, and it seems that, however eloquent they are, they are unable to open their mouths if this belt does not appear before they speak.” (Lahontan 1990 [1703]; ANOM, C11A, 1689-1690). But the French chroniclers go further, drawing an analogy with writing and archives. Father Lafitau, for example, comments on the Iroquois:1

  • 2 Lafitau knew the Iroquois best, but he also relies here on the writings of Brother Sagard, the firs (...)

Their public Treasury contains mainly these kinds of belts, which stand in for [...] contracts, and public deeds, and, as it were, for chronicles and annals, or registers. For since the Indians do not have the use of writing and letters, and are thus exposed to forgetting things that occur amongst them [...], they make up for this shortcoming by making a local memory in words which they attach to belts, each of which signifies a particular case.2
(Lafitau 1983 [1724]: 106)

3The different patterns woven in white or dark beads (lozenges, squares, triangles, etc.), had a particular meaning that could help memorize “spoken words” (Lainey 2004: 164-166; Sawaya 1998).

4European settlement of Northeast America in the 17th century — the French in Acadia and Canada, the Dutch and English in New York and New England — contributed to extending these ritual forms. The English manufactured and marketed standardized wampum (Lainey 2004: 20-21), and the official representatives of the French and English Crowns routinely complied with the use of beaded belts and strings during their diplomatic negotiations with the Native Americans up to the early 19th century, both in their own centers (Montreal, Quebec, Albany, etc. ) and in the Indigenous villages. Moreover, any failings by the Europeans in matters of ritual were promptly pointed out: “We were addressed with empty words, that is, without a belt,” a Huron chief complained to the governor of Canada, Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, at the beginning of the 18th century (ANOM, C11A, 1703; Havard 2017 [2003]: 534).

5Of course, in the absence of wampum, the Native Americans could also trade in beaver skins, tobacco, prisoners, or, more rarely, axes and clothing. Gifts substantiated words so that they would not disappear as soon as they were pronounced. As the explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle wrote in 1680 about the Miami: “These presents are like a seal on what must be said, without which it is assumed that all that one advances has no force, and that they are only empty words”. (Margry 1877). The process of giving is more important than the object exchanged (Druke 1985: 89; Lainey 2004: 62-63), yet wampum artefacts, with or without designs, are ascribed a special value.

Fig. 1. Neck-worn ornament. Northeastern North America, before 1725.

Fig. 1. Neck-worn ornament. Northeastern North America, before 1725.

Quahog shell (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk shell, hide, porcupine quills, vegetable fibers. Length 107.6 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1878.32.56.
This item was probably part of the collection of Louis Léon Pajot, the Count of Ons-en-Bray, and General Director of the Postes et Relais de France, whose cabinets of mechanics, hydraulics, clocks and curiosities were bequeathed to the Académie royale des sciences on his death in 1754.

Former collection of the Cabinet des médailles [Coin Cabinet], Bibliothèque nationale de France © musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, photo Patrick Gries, Valérie Torre.

6We shall address this specificity through two received ideas, both of which come from Colonial sources. The first equates wampum with records or archives. Is this a misnomer? The second takes wampum to be simply the materialization of speech. Yet what of the sensory qualities of the object? Arguably, their efficacy in guaranteeing spoken words depends upon this.

Fig. 2. Wampum belt. Northeastern North America, c. 1700.

Fig. 2. Wampum belt. Northeastern North America, c. 1700.

Quahog shell (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk shell, hide, porcupine quills, vegetable fibers. Length 91 cm.
Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1878.32.57. Former collection of the Cabinet des médailles [Coin Cabinet], Bibliothèque nationale de France

© musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, photo Patrick Gries, Valérie Torre.

A mediating object, and a person

7Like the calumet, a ceremonial stick whose purpose was to establish kinship ties (Désveaux 2001; Havard 2020), wampum were used by Native American as mediating objects, to communicate with the Europeans. They were not used all over North America, and were initially confined to the Northeast of the continent, while the calumet was more characteristic of societies west of the Great Lakes, the Mississippi Valley and the Great Plains. While the Iroquois and the Huron, speakers of Iroquoian languages, particularly valued wampum — the former were reputed to have large reserves of them — the Algonquian peoples of the Great Lakes, far from the bead production sites located on the New England coast and on Long Island in New York Bay, used them less frequently, at least in the 17th century. It was through the intermediary of the Iroquois, the Huron, and especially the French, whose imperial project tended to standardize North American relational rituals, that the Algonquian peoples started using wampum belts at conferences held at Montreal or at Great Lakes military posts such as Michilimackinac and Detroit. “The Indians of the prairies did not [use] porcelain in the past,” the Intendant Antoine-Denis Raudot wrote in the early 18th century, “They spoke with the calumet, by gifting slaves or with bison, deer and moose hides embroidered with feathers or porcupine quills” (Raudot 2018 [1709-1710]; Havard 2017 [2003]: 140).

  • 3 See, for example, Truteau 2017 [1794-1796]: 100.

8In 1712, for example, Pemoussa, a great Fox warrior chief, in his attempts to mediate when he and his people were being besieged at Detroit by a coalition of Ottawa, Huron, and the French, went to the French fort with “a crown of porcelline [sic] on his head, several porcelline belts hanging down, and several others worn across his body.” Accompanied by three other chiefs and “supported by seven female slaves [captives],” also covered in wampum, Pemoussa delivered a speech to move his audience to pity: “Here are six belts that we give you, which bind us like your real slaves; we beg you to untie them as a sign that you grant us life.” (ANOM, C11A, 1712; Lainey 2004:30) The Ottawa and Huron chiefs refused Pemoussa’s belts and would even have put him to death had the French commander not intervened. Similarly, one could refuse to smoke the pipe presented by strangers, to signify rejection of the discussion or the terms of the negotiation.3

  • 4 On the “agency” of Native American ritual objects, see for example: Fausto 2011.

9As ritual objects, wampum beads and calumets had a religious value, which meant that they were invested with the power to act. Like plants, animals, ritual bundles (medicine bags), masks, celestial bodies and meteorological phenomena, they were people capable of thinking and feeling.4 In this respect, the term “diplomacy”, used in the title of this article, can be misleading. It must be understood here in the broadest sense of communication, of putting people in touch with one another, rather than designating a specific Native American social field. “Diplomacy,” “politics,” “economy,” “religion” - these categories were closely interconnected for the Indigenous peoples, and can merge into one another. The basic function of wampum beads was mediation, most fundamentally between two spheres of sensible reality, speech and death, that is, “diplomatic” dialogue and war. This relationship between wampum, speech and death is embodied, for the Iroquois in particular, around mourning and condolence rituals: wampum can be used to justify war, but also, equally, to suspend hostilities.

  • 5 On this aspect, see: Viau 1997: 79 et 162 ; Balloy 2019: 231 sq.
  • 6 This idea comes from Emmanuel Désveaux (pers. comm. 2016), and we try to substantiate it here.
  • 7 This episode resembles other mythological narratives in which there is an impostor covered in beads (...)

10If wampum can be associated with death, it is because they have a function relating to war. When an Iroquois mother grieving over the loss of a relative wished to recruit warriors to search for captives to adopt or scalps to take, she gave them wampum belts (Viau 1997: 85; Désveaux 2017: 49). Military expeditions thus had a funerary dimension.5 A scalp could even be attached to a wampum to serve as an invitation to go to war (RAPQ 1932-1933: 332). Among the Winnebago, victorious warriors were offered a beaded belt as a reward or a trophy (Radin 1990 [1923]: 119, n.4). The association between war and the snake, conceived as a lethal weapon, also suggests the connection between wampum and death. Among the Delaware, the southern neighbors of the Iroquois, warriors left for campaigns wearing snake skins (Goddard 1978). Indeed, it seems some wampum were formally assimilated to snakes.6 One of the plates in the Codex Canadensis by the Jesuit artist Louis Nicolas (“representative of the town of Gannashiooarai (gannachiouaré) [who] went to invite the gentlemen of Gandaouageahga for a game...”) shows an Iroquois ambassador singing and dancing while holding a snake, or “fire god”, which looks like a large wampum belt (Nicolas n. d.: fol. 15) [Fig. 3]. It is as though Nicolas had wanted to emphasis the theme of metamorphosis, which is so prevalent in Native American mythologies. Paul Radin’s ethnographic notes on the Winnebago also mention this formal link: at an encounter between the Shawnee prophet Tenskwatawa, the brother of the chief Tecumseh, and a spirit who, in anger, throws his “belt” to the ground, the latter instantly transformed into a rattlesnake (Radin 1990 [1923]: 22). Furthermore, in the Iroquois myth entitled “The Woman who Married a Great Snake”, which draws on the pan-Indigenous theme of the trickster animal, the man with the wampum-belted body who marries a young woman turns out to be a snake (Curtin 1918).7 It is true that there are striking similarities between the two: not only are wampum, especially those with tapered ends, snake-shaped, but they also have the supple texture of a snake.

11The other semantic pole around wampum was speech, which had a prominent place in French Colonial sources. In order to get a better understanding of the issues involved, we shall turn to French-Native American diplomatic rituals, which were shaped by the Iroquoian culture of condolences and the appeasing of spirits.

Fig. 3. Louis Nicolas (attributed to) “Here is a deputy from the village of Gannachiou-aré who is inviting to the game the men from Gandaouagoahga. They believe the snake is the god of fire. They invoke him by holding it in the hand while dancing and singing.” Codex Canadensis, p. 11, folio 15, n. d. [c. 1664-1675]. Ink on paper, 33,7 x 21,6 cm.

Fig. 3. Louis Nicolas (attributed to) “Here is a deputy from the village of Gannachiou-aré who is inviting to the game the men from Gandaouagoahga. They believe the snake is the god of fire. They invoke him by holding it in the hand while dancing and singing.” Codex Canadensis, p. 11, folio 15, n. d. [c. 1664-1675]. Ink on paper, 33,7 x 21,6 cm.

The Jesuit missionary Louis Nicolas, credited as the author of the Codex Canadensis, spent eleven years in New France (1664-1675), traveling to the western end of the Lake Superior, and spending time with Indigenous peoples of various languages (Algonquin, Iroquois, Sioux). His work is an exceptional source on Native American ethnography and natural history.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, Gilcrease Museum, Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, 4726.7.

Kiotsaeton, the wampum man (1645)

  • 8 One can find three different spellings of this name: Kiotsaeton (JR 1897[1642-1645]: 248, 250, 266 (...)
  • 9 “Words of the Indians” is the name often given to the declarations by Native American ambassadors, (...)

12The first major French-Native American conference for which we have a detailed account was held at Three-Rivers in July 1645 (JR 1897[1642-1645]: 246-272; Fenton 1985: 20). This peace conference brought together the French, and representatives of several Indigenous groups: Iroquois, Huron, Algonquin, Montagnais and Attikamek. The Jesuit who wrote an account of the conference, Father Barthélémy Vimont, focused particularly on the role played by the Iroquois orator, Kiotsaeton8 (“The Hook”). The centrality of oratory and theatre in the pedagogy of the disciples of Ignatius de Loyola might explain this focus. Also, this is the “Age of Eloquence” (or of rhetoric), to use Marc Fumaroli’s expression (1994 [1980]; Compte 2008). The Jesuits were the first to describe and frame the Native American speeches as oratorical events, in their accounts of these sessions published in Paris from 1632 to 1673. Subsequently, those speeches were collected and condensed in the official correspondence between Canada and Versailles, which constitutes an exceptionally rich corpus, in which wampum beads come across as a commonplace object in French-Native American diplomacy.9

13Kiotsaeton, who belonged to the Agniers (Mohawk) Iroquois nation, was not an important chief, but he was a consummate orator and actor. A tall man, he arrived at the French fort of Three-Rivers on July 5, towering above the prow of his boat and flanked by three other men, one of whom was a French captive. He was covered from head to toe in wampum, and “[made] a sign with his hand that people should listen to him” (JR 1897[1642-1645]: 246; Marie de l’Incarnation 1971 [1640-1672]: 253). The garment he wore made him into a kind of human wampum. The wampum shell is not an indifferent object. As Claude Lévi-Strauss has shown, Native American symbolism often draws on the sensible qualities of flora and fauna (Lévi-Strauss and Eribon 1988). Wampum beads, which are made out of large seashells, act as resonance chambers, or sound amplifiers. They are a sort of musical instrument through which speech is not simply transmitted, but given form. Articulated sound takes on a more tangible quality through the wampum shell, and can turn the interlocutor into a better listener. It may also evoke the “musicality” of the rattlesnake’s rattle, just as the pattern of the snake’s skin may inspire the geometrical arrangement of the wampum beads.

  • 10 Hewitt bases his account on that of the Onondaga John Skanawati Buck, written in 1888. See: Hewitt (...)
  • 11 See: Hewitt 1892: 140; on Hiawatha, see: Hale 1883; Fenton 1998: 62-63. In another version of the m (...)

14The conference itself took place in the courtyard of the French fort of Three-Rivers on 12 July 1645 in the presence of the governor of the colony, the Chevalier de Montmagny, called Onontio in the Iroquoian language (from Mons Magnus, “Great Mountain”), who had just arrived from Quebec. Kiotsaeton was again attired in wampum, and he carried more of them in his bag. The three Iroquois companions planted two poles in the ground, connected by a rope, on which “seventeen porcelain collars [strings/belts]” were hung, corresponding to the words to be conveyed to the governor, “for everything in them speaks, and their actions are significant, as well as their words”, according to the Ursuline Marie de l’Incarnation, who may have attended this conference too. She mentions that the Iroquois’ gifts “consisted of thirty thousand grains of porcelain, which they had reduced to seventeen collars [strings/belts]” (Marie de l’Incarnation 1971 [1640-1672]: 254). The horizontally stretched rope echoes the founding myth of the Iroquois League, in which the heroes Deganawida and Hiawatha, upon entering the home of Thadoda:ho, a monstrous and evil sorcerer, take thirteen wampum strings from their bag, symbolizing thirteen subjects, and suspend them on a horizontal rod.10 Deganawida and Hiawatha were trying to get their people to abandon their internal conflicts and establish a “Great Peace”. That was the origin of the tradition of wampum as a vehicle for words of peace, the name Hiawatha meaning “he who seeks the wampum belt”. Moreover, our two peace-loving heroes reputedly reformed the mind of Thadoda:ho and humanized him by prizing off the snakes covering his skull while giving him a wampum shell at the same time, and restituting his human hair. The ethnologist of Iroquois origin John Napoleon Brinton Hewitt was among those who reported this information at the end of the 19th century. The scene evokes the mythological Gorgon’s head, but this does not necessarily invalidate its authenticity, given the phenomenon of syncretism. This account would be further evidence of the association between wampum and snakes.11

15But let’s get back to Kiotsaeton, who was about to bring out the wampum one by one to give substance to his words and to test how seriously the French and their allies wanted peace. Each of his proposals was accompanied by the display of a belt or strings of wampum. Brandishing the first belt, Kiotsaeton began “his harangue” — which he had learnt by heart — “in a loud voice”, looking at the sun, then addressing Montmagny: “Onontio, lend an ear, I am the mouthpiece of my whole country.” He then began to chant to the rhythm of the cheers of his two companions. This again echoes the creation myth of the Iroquois League (Hewitt 1892: 138), in which the soothing virtues of song occupy a central place. Kiotsaeton adjusted his voice to the subject matter and made extensive use of gesture and metaphor, including pantomime, to enliven his speech.

  • 12 See also Marie de l’Incarnation 1971 [1640-1672]: 254-255.

He strutted around on that great courtyard as though on the stage of a theatre, Father Vimont reported, he made a thousand gestures, looked up to the Heavens, contemplated the sun, and rubbed his arms up and down as though to bring out the vigor they have in war.
(JR 1897[1642-1645]: 252)
12

16In the presence of the French, who admired the expressive power of Kiotsaeton’s body, this exceptional orator reproduced gestures central to the Iroquois culture of peace-making.

17The first belt was given to Montmagny, who had saved the life of an Iroquois captive. Having recited what he was proposing, Kiotsaeton handed him the present, or laid it at his feet. Accepting a wampum - which is the case here - means that the message has been taken into consideration and that it will probably be followed the next day by a positive response, itself backed up by a belt or another present. Kiotsaeton attached the second belt to the arm of the French prisoner Guillaume Couture, who had been brought back alive and unharmed from Iroquois country. The third belt was meant to appease the war-hungry fury of his enemies. The fourth signified that he would forget his rancor at having seen his own people killed in battle. The next four belts symbolized clearing paths, levelling waterfalls, calming the winds, and enabling good communication between everyone. Then came the tenth belt, the most important and, significantly, the most “beautiful”, which was intended to “bind all together”, the Iroquois, the French and the Algonquin. To signify this, Kiotsaeton firmly took the arm of a Frenchman on one side, that of an Algonquin on the other, “and having thus bound himself to them”, declared: “this is the knot that binds us inseparably”. This knot - sometimes called a “rope” or a “chain” in Colonial sources - which binds the arms together, is a metaphor for peace, as a kind of adoption. Similarly, prisoners of war were bound by a rope, and some of them were adopted. Kiotsaeton’s nickname, “the Hook,” perhaps points to his essential role as one who connects and binds together.

  • 13 On the traditional Iroquois cheers of approval (perhaps heard on that day), see: Fenton 1985: 20 an (...)

18As for the other belts displayed by Kiotsaeton, they were calls to share food, to dispel clouds, or to hear the Huron’s need to make peace. Two days later, Governor Montmagny responded almost point by point, with “fourteen presents” (perhaps belts). After every word spoken there came cheers of approval from the three Iroquois ambassadors (“Yu Henh”; “Hi”; “Yah”)13 [JR 1897[1642-1645]: 260 and 266]. It was perhaps the Huron, who initiated the French, their close allies, into this type of ritual.

Fig. 4. Joseph-François Lafitau. “This plate concerns the Embassies & Commerce of the Indians from Northern America. The first scene shows a Indian at a Council speaking with porcelaine belts. The belt he holds in his hand is presented on a larger scale at the bottom of the subject.” Mœurs des sauvages amériquains comparées aux moeurs des premiers temps, vol. 2. Paris, Saugrin l’Aîné, 1724, Pl. 15. Engraving, 22 x 14.7 cm.

Fig. 4. Joseph-François Lafitau. “This plate concerns the Embassies & Commerce of the Indians from Northern America. The first scene shows a Indian at a Council speaking with porcelaine belts. The belt he holds in his hand is presented on a larger scale at the bottom of the subject.” Mœurs des sauvages amériquains comparées aux moeurs des premiers temps, vol. 2. Paris, Saugrin l’Aîné, 1724, Pl. 15. Engraving, 22 x 14.7 cm.

The Jesuit missionary Lafitau spent nearly six years (1712-1717) among the Iroquois of Sault Saint-Louis (Kahnawake) and in 1724 published a book in which he compared Iroquois customs to those of ancient peoples (Hebrews, Greeks... ) to show that there was nothing aberrant about them.

Paris, BnF, département Philosophie, histoire, sciences de l’homme, PANGRAND-383, p. 314.

The Iroquois culture of condolences

19The following year, however, in October 1646, war broke out again and the French, along with their Indigenous allies, were embroiled in regular conflict with the Iroquois, and long peace processes, right up to the end of the 17th century. When negotiations resumed, it was always under the auspices of wampum, with highly codified gestures in a rhetoric of consolation.

20In September 1655, for example, eighteen Onondaga ambassadors, representing the “Upper Iroquois Nations” — which excludes the Mohawk - went to Quebec to relaunch the peace talks that had started two years earlier. “In the midst of this assembly,” the Jesuit Jean de Quen reported, “the principal ambassador, who was the spokesperson, made twenty-four porcelain belts appear, which, in the eyes of the Indians, are the pearls and diamonds of this country” (JR 1899[1632-1657]: 48-50; Savard 1996: 122-123). The first eight belts were offered to the Huron and Algonquin present. For the first, a ‘handkerchief’, he declared: “It is time to wipe away the tears you shed in abundance for the death of those whom war has snatched from you”. With the fourth belt, which sought to “reinstate the rational soul in the seat of reason”, he added:

These peoples believe that sadness & anger, & all violent passions, drive the rational soul from the body, leaving only the sensible soul that we have in common with the beasts, and which remains there during that time.
(JR 1899[1632-1657]: 48-50)

21The Jesuits were particularly attuned to this culture of calming the soul because in the aftermath of the shocking violence of the Wars of Religion, in the first half of the 17th century, a new science and anthropology of the passions emerged in France, as Yann Rodier has shown, which advocated mastering and channeling hatred (Rodier 2020).

  • 14 On these sensory purifications see: Foster 1985.

22The fifth Iroquois belt was “a medicinal beverage, to chase away all bitterness from the heart”, and the sixth was meant to “open their ears to the words of truth, & to the promises of true peace, knowing well that passion renders deaf & blind all those who allow themselves to be carried away by it”. Then came the belts addressed to the French, represented by the governor Jean de Lauson: they served to “wipe away their tears”, “clean the blood that has been spilt”, “calm our spirits”, “serve as a medicine, & a drink sweeter than sugar and honey”. Everything converged on making the message clear and that it should be received in the right way (JR 1899[1632-1657]: 50-5214).

23At the governor’s request, two Jesuits, Joseph Chaumonot and Claude Dablon, then went to Onondaga. Once they had arrived within one league of the village, on November 5, 1655, they were greeted “by a Captain of importance, called Gonaterezon,” who had come to meet them, and then, three quarters of a league further on, by “the Elders of the Country” (JR 1899 [1632-1657]: 84): this was because the Iroquois protocol required hosts and visitors to meet at the “edge of the woods,” a few kilometers from the place designated for the negotiations. In the evening, in Onondaga, the two Jesuits were first offered a gift of “500 grains of porcelain to wipe our eyes [...] wet with the tears shed for the murders that have occurred among us this year”, and then a second gift “of 500 grains to strengthen the stomach & clear the phlegm from our throats, so as to make our voices truly clear, free and strong” (JR 1899[1632-1657]: 86-88). At an assembly held on 15 November, Chaumonot, an excellent linguist, began by displaying “a large belt of porcelain, to say that his mouth was that of Onnontio”, then, hoping to touch the spirit of his guests and convert them to Catholicism by the grace of eloquence, he introduced some changes into the ritual of condolence. He placed crowns of beads on the heads - the “seat of the spirit” - of several Iroquois, in order to dry up the source of their tears, since wiping them away was not enough. And when he handed over “the most beautiful belt” he proclaimed it to be “a most sovereign remedy for all sorts of ills”, namely “Faith”. The next day, the Onondaga chief Agochiendaguesé made a long speech in reply to Chaumonot. From his third gift, “a belt made of seven thousand grains”, he made a belt which he warmly offered to Chaumonot, a sign of his adherence to Christianity, and sealing the relationship (or rather, in our opinion, the adoption) that was taking place (ibid.: 100-124; Savard 1996: 124-126).

  • 15 On the Iroquois War, see: Désveaux 2017: 45-59; Viau 1997.

24By spontaneously imposing their ritual procedures and their set language on the French, the Iroquois sought to integrate them into their own political universe, which was one of kinship. This apparent paradox lay at the heart of Iroquois society: on the one hand, it fostered an elaborate ritual code and practice of pacification of beings, and on the other, an ideology that valued going off to kill far away, as a privileged site of social reproduction.15 Wampum, as a mediating object, precisely effected a transformation between these two poles: it was a means of handling a state of affliction, of mourning, by sometimes promoting death, through war, and sometimes peace, through the ceremony of condolences. But either way, it aimed at rebirth, or adoption, whether of the captured enemy, or of the interlocutor addressed in a discourse of eradication of hatred.

Fig. 5. Francis Back, Reconstruction of the gathering of August 4, 1701 preceding the signing of the Great Peace of Montreal, 2001. 75 x 50 cm, ink, gouache and colored pencils on cardboard.

Fig. 5. Francis Back, Reconstruction of the gathering of August 4, 1701 preceding the signing of the Great Peace of Montreal, 2001. 75 x 50 cm, ink, gouache and colored pencils on cardboard.

© Francis Back. 2001. Raphaëlle & Félix Back.

25For the Iroquois, the center of the world is the place where a Tree of Peace should be symbolically - but not really — planted. Its abundant branches will then shelter all the people’s allies, and its roots extend in all directions. This center is their capital Onondaga, not the Colonial towns, and even less Versailles or London (Beaulieu and Lavoie 2000). In 1693, Pierre Millet, a Jesuit who was staying in Onondaga, reported an initiative by the Iroquois, which he probably inspired, to appear as peace ambassadors between the French and the English (it was the height of the War of the League of Augsburg, 1689-1697).

  • 16 Captured in 1689, Father Millet was finally adopted, with the name of a founder of the Iroquois Lea (...)

The Iroquois Grand Council, on which fifty chieftains sat, decided to send strings of wampum to the warring kings of France and England to request that they make peace. One of these, “the longest of all”, signified the Iroquois’ wished: for their word to be carried across the sea [the ocean] to the Kings of France and England, especially the King of France, so that he himself may speak on this article, and that he may give them, if possible, a peace such as they desire, that is to say, a general peace, not only between all the Indians, but between all their kinsmen, and especially between the Kings of France and England.16
(quoted in Gohier 2008)

  • 17 On the peace of 1701, see: Havard 2001; Beaulieu and Viau 2001.

26This transatlantic mediation failed. As for lasting peace between the French and the Iroquois, it had to wait until the Treaty of Montreal in 1701, after four years of intense negotiation.17

I attach my words to the belts: the thirty-one wampum belts of the Great Peace of Montreal (1701)

  • 18 Benjamin Balloy, pers. comm. June 2021.

27On July 21, 1701, on the way to Montreal, where a major peace conference was to be held, fleets of birchbark canoes from Iroquoia and the Great Lakes stopped for a few hours some ten kilometers south of the town, at the Christianized Iroquois village of Sault Saint-Louis (Kahnawake), in order to comply with the protocol of the “edge of the woods”. A meeting was held upon the arrival of the Iroquois delegates - Onontagués, Goyoguins and Onneiouts - and a “small fire of dried brambles” was lit to prepare the ambassadors for the “Council fire” in Montreal. The guests smoked “with great composure, for a good quarter of an hour”, and they were welcomed with the customary metaphors: “My brothers”, said the chief of Sault Saint-Louis, “we are happy to see you here after escaping all the perils that are along the way [...]”. Then, equipped with three strings of wampum, he expressed the three statements of the ritual of reunion and condolence — wiping away tears, cleaning the ears, and opening the throat. These sensory purifications, as we have seen, were to predispose individuals to listening, discussion and peace (Bacqueville de La Potherie 1753 [1722]: 194-196). Basically, these gestures were designed to transform the listener’s body, acting on his or her bodily matter so that he or she should change his perspective on the world. “To change the body is to change the point of view”, writes Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (2006) on the Amazonian Indians.18 In its creation of a “different” perception of the sensible environment, smoking the peace pipe ultimately obeyed this same principle of calming or transforming the body.

  • 19 On the “porcelain sun”, see also: Lainey 2004: 69. The Natives of the Montagne (a mission founded i (...)

28From 21 July to 7 August 1701, 1,300 Native Americans representing more than thirty nations came to Montreal. The conference was also a fur fair, since “economic” and “diplomatic” activities were not necessarily held separate by the Indigenous populations. Throughout the conference, which included special meetings, Native American speakers, and likewise the French governor Louis-Hector de Callière, displayed wampum belts, or bundles of beaver, to support, or shape, their words. When death, in the form of an epidemic, struck the congress, wampum were also used. On August 2, when the Huron chief Kondiaronk died, Tahartakout, the first Iroquois chief of the Seneca, took out three wampum strings to wipe away the Huron’s tears. The next day, the day of Kondiaronk’s funeral, the interpreter Louis-Thomas Chabert de Joncaire, accompanied by about fifty Native Americans from the Sulpician Mountain mission — initially located at the foot of the Royal Mountain — went before the Huron and urged them, “with a porcelain Sun [a round pectoral plate], held by two Belts,” not to abandon the light of peace (Bacqueville de La Potherie 1753 [1722]: 229-230 and 235).19

29The peace was ratified on August 4 in a large clearing set up south of Pointe-à-Callière, between the city and the St. Lawrence River. The main chronicler of this event, Bacqueville de La Potherie, reported that “all things were set out over two days,” and that “several Indian women were brought in to work on the belts” (ibid: 239). These women probably lived in the Iroquois village of La Montagne. Among the Native Americans, it was the women who were responsible for weaving beads and making strings and belts from them (Fenton 1998: 230), just as they made embroideries from porcupine quills and moose hair. The geometric arts, among the Native Americans of the Great Lakes and the Plains, were traditionally the preserve of women, as Emmanuel Désveaux (1993) has shown.

  • 20 There are actually thirty-eight or thirty-nine signatures on the treaty, but it is possible that Ca (...)

30The visitor was immediately struck, at the entrance to the conference area, by the thirty-one wampum collars [strings/belts] made for the occasion and hanging from a large rod, as in 1645. Unusually, they did not correspond to the number of themes addressed, but to the number of Indigenous nations that signed the treaty. Callière planned to give a belt to each chief present.20 He was the first to deliver his speech, from a raised platform, paper in hand:

I am extremely pleased to see all my children assembled here at this time [...] I therefore ratify today the peace we have made [...] wanting there to be no more talk of all the blows struck during the war, and again I seize all your axes, and all your other instruments of war, which I put with mine in a pit so deep that no one can take them back to disturb the tranquility that I am restoring among my Children [...]. I attach my words to the belts that I shall give to each of your nations so that the elders may have them carried out by their young men, I invite you all to smoke this calumet and I shall be the first, and to eat the meat and broth that I have had prepared for you so that I may have the satisfaction like a good father of seeing all my children reunited.
(ANOM, C11A, 1701, our underlining).

31One can identify several Native American metaphors in this speech: the “pit” where the axes were buried, the “cauldron” for the shared food, and of course the pipe and the wampum. Five interpreters — four Jesuits and a coureur de bois [Indian trader] — translated Callière’s words into the languages of the various representatives, before the Native American orators delivered their own speeches. The governor then had the Treaty brought in, which the chiefs signed by appending totemic drawings to it, often of animals. The Native Americans certainly understood the ritual value this gesture had for the French. But the treaty was also indebted to the Indigenous tradition of “words”: on the document, the pictograms followed the speeches delivered and transcribed by a French scribe, rather than punctuating a series of clauses. The style of these “marks” was not like the essentially geometric style of wampum belts, but was similar to Native American figurative art, made mainly by men in several mediums: human or animal skin, bark, and rock (Havard 2001:139 and 185-189; id. 2017 [2003]: 535-537).

Fig. 6. Louis-Armand de Lom d’Arce, baron de Lahontan, “Porcelaine belt [and] calumet” during the Great Peace of Montreal. Nouveaux voyages de Mr. le baron de Lahontan, dans l’Amérique septentrionale, vol. 1. La Haye, chez les Frères l’Honoré, marchands libraires, 1703, n. p., view 79. Engraving, 13.1 x 8.4 cm.

Fig. 6. Louis-Armand de Lom d’Arce, baron de Lahontan, “Porcelaine belt [and] calumet” during the Great Peace of Montreal. Nouveaux voyages de Mr. le baron de Lahontan, dans l’Amérique septentrionale, vol. 1. La Haye, chez les Frères l’Honoré, marchands libraires, 1703, n. p., view 79. Engraving, 13.1 x 8.4 cm.

Lahontan lived for ten years in New France (1683-1693), where he served in the troops of the Navy. In the three works inspired by his stay in North America, which will meet a great success in the 18th century, he provides a critical and ironic charge against European civilization.

Paris, BnF, département Réserve des livres rares, RES 8-P-2021 (1).

The belts as repositories of memory

32We do not know what happened to the belts distributed by the Indigenous nations at this peace conference. There is no indication that they were sent to Versailles, although Callière’s successor as governor, Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, regularly sent such items. Thus, in 1717, he sent to the French Court “the belt that the five Iroquois nations gave [...] for his Majesty”. But in 1719, he mentioned that he “[would] comply with the order of the [Navy] Council not to send any more of these kinds of belts” (ANOM, C11A, 1719, quoted in Lainey 2004: 79). Most of the wampum received at the conferences were in fact stored in the king’s stores in Quebec or Montreal, if the governor did not sell them himself for his own benefit. Jonathan Lainey has found in the French Colonial archives the mention of several tens of thousands of beads that were kept in these stores. The latter also housed the beads purchased from traders. So the belts were constantly recycled, taken apart to make new ones (Lainey 2004: 77-80).

Fig. 7. Pectoral worn by captains or war chiefs as a symbol of status. Central Plains or eastern North America, ca. 1690-1725. Whelk shell, vegetable fibers.

Fig. 7. Pectoral worn by captains or war chiefs as a symbol of status. Central Plains or eastern North America, ca. 1690-1725. Whelk shell, vegetable fibers.

This type of pectoral is illustrated in the reference works of Bacqueville de La Potherie (1722) and Joseph-François Lafitau (1724). Michel Bégon, the naval quartermaster at Rochefort (1688-1710), describes a specimen in his private collection at the end of the 17th century.

Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1934.33.36 D. Long term-loan from the Versailles Public Library © musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, photo Patrick Gries, Valérie Torres.

33For the French, the value of treaties was different from that of belts, which were used tactically. Moreover, in the sources describing the peace conferences, there is little mention of the patterns woven or the beads’ color. But how did the Indigenous peoples view them? Should we agree with Lafitau and others that the wampum constituted an archival record, or a treaty in the sense of a legal document, beyond any oral declaration? It is true, as an 18th-century memoir indicates, that belts were sometimes carefully preserved, after their display at conferences:

The belts that are given to the Indians for affairs concerning the nation are kept by one of the former leaders of the Council and often, after twenty years or more, they will come and present the belt they were given as a reminder of the word that was given or as a reproach for not keeping it.
(BNF, NAF 2550, n. d. [c. 1725]: fol. 24)

34The oral tradition was thus meant to preserve the memory of certain belts deemed to be of importance. One might also wonder whether the Native Americans, by adhering like the Europeans to the idea of storing these, did not themselves establish an analogy between the archival record (European writing) and the wampum objects: the belts would thus have enabled them to understand the very principle of the archive as a way of anchoring a word frozen in time. In 1717, during peace negotiations with the French, the Foxes, as one officer reported, “had the interpreters write down what they were asking for,” promising the governor Vaudreuil that they would “come [the following year] to satisfy their words [...] but that since words could change, they were promising him by means of this writing which does not change.” (ANOM, C11A, 1717; Havard 2017 [2003]: 535).

35That said, unless the wampum were regularly taken out of the bags in which a guardian had stored them, much as one would do with objects contained in ritual bundles, to be “read” in public, their precise meaning tended to fade into oblivion (Fenton 1998: 232-234; Druke 1985: 90). Moreover, they could be unpicked and remade (Lainey 2004: 84), or else buried with their owners. The recycling of wampum distinguishes their use from that of archives, where a historicization of the past takes place. A belt was not the bearer of an anonymous memory, which any individual could reactivate, but of an intimate, personal relationship. The wampum’s guardian preserved the particular memory it held, and his death sometimes meant the death of the wampum itself, because death is, fundamentally, when the word ceases. A French memoir is clear on this subject: “the porcelain used either in belts or in bracelets is buried with the person to whom it belonged” (BNF, NAF 2550, n. d. [c. 1725]: fol. 24).

  • 21 This refers to the fact that Vaudreuil had been the governor of Montreal in 1701.
  • 22 Interestingly, some of the belts were “divided in two so that the same one could be used for two wo (...)

36The memory of an agreement can thus be maintained independently of the individuality of the wampum objects, through the periodic renewal of the alliance concerned. When the Iroquois went to Montreal or Quebec in the 18th century, they showed the governor of New France that they remembered the Great Peace of Montreal, no doubt, because this conference had impressed them. In 1726, an Iroquois delegation met in Montreal with the Marquis de Beauharnois, the new French governor, and mourned the death of his predecessor, Vaudreuil. Nine belts were used for this purpose. One of them recalled that Vaudreuil had “planted in these lands the Tree of Peace. This tree has grown there every year since that day and has remained unshakeable and able to withstand all storms, so deep do its roots reach into the earth”21 (BNF NAF, 2550, n. d. [1726]: fol. 38). Similarly, in December 1756, in the midst of the French and Indian War, ambassadors from the Iroquois League came to reactivate the 1701 alliance. Governor Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, son of the previous Vaudreuil, had sent them a “belt of invitation” (RAPQ 1932-1933: 331). As reported by the chevalier de La Pause, an officer [aide-maréchal général des logis], the Iroquois chief “entered [the hall of the Saint-Sulpice seminary] dancing and singing and shedding tears”, and then presented a total of “16 words, 14 with belts, and the other two with wampum strings22” (ibid.: 326). The first two belts were to condole the death of Charles Le Moyne, the governor of Montreal, and of his son, who had been killed the previous year at the Battle of Lake George (ibid.; ANOM, C11A, 1756: fol. 248rv). Then the main orator addressed Vaudreuil de Cavagnial as follows:

  • 23 See also: RAPQ 1932-1933: 326; Delâge 2009.

Our ancestors, at the time of your venerable father, uprooted a pine tree [Tree of Peace] and made a hole into which they cast bad dealings, and we have renewed this precipice … here are three strings of porcelaine which were given to us by your late father to gather all his children into one dish, in which he put a beaver tail, and a small piece of tobacco for each..., we renew this word so that we may all work again towards good dealings.
(ANOM, C11A, 1756: fol. 250rv
23, our underlining)

37These three strings had presumably been gifted by Vaudreuil (the father) at the beginning of the 18th century, unless they were the wampum that circulated at the time of the peace treaty of 1701, which would indicate they had been preserved even longer. The Chevalier de La Pause specifies that “the words of the five nations were translated one by one, by the interpreter; they were gathered by the governor’s secretary and the belts were numbered as they were received” (RAPQ 1932-1933: 327). He also noted the importance attached to the size of the wampum in this context. At another audience with the Iroquois, Vaudreuil “had six strings of wampum presented to them, to wipe away their tears, open their ears and clear their throats”, and a little later, the orator for the Six Nations in turn presented, as condolences for the losses suffered in the war, “six strings of wampum measured to be exactly the same size as those that the Marquis de Vaudreuil had given them” (ibid.: 331-332).

38Four years later, the French military defeat at the hands of the British, which sealed the fall of New France, put an end to diplomatic relations between representatives of the French king and the Native Americans in Canada. The large corpus of Native American “words” in the archives today is a sign of this rich history of intercultural alliances. By repeatedly adopting the relational technique of wampum belts, the French (and likewise the English in the colony of New York) demonstrated a capacity for adaptation that was in fact imposed on them; the conditions under which colonization took place in America were such that it was vital to secure local allies, all the more so because of the fierce competition between Colonial empires. For nearly two centuries, the French thus moved in a geopolitical sphere whose diplomatic practices were largely shaped by the Native Americans. For the latter, the encounter with the Europeans was paradoxically an opportunity for them to magnify certain aspects of their culture: trade in beads increased enormously, and correspondingly the complex wampum ritual flourished, at a time when most Indigenous societies, although weakened, remained sovereign over their territories.

We thank Benjamin Balloy and Emmanuel Désveaux for their comments on a first version of this text. We would also like to express our gratitude to the editors of this issue.

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Bibliographie

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Haut de page

Notes

1 The Native Americans, referred to by the French as “Iroquois”, who call themselves Haudenosaunee, “people of the longhouse”, formed a confederacy of five “nations” in the 17th century: “People of the Flint” (called Agniers by the French, Mohawk by the English), who were guardians of the Eastern door of the “longhouse”; “People of the Raised Stone” (Onneiouts/Oneida); “People of the Mountain” (Onontagués/Onondaga), who kept the “central fire” of the confederation; Goyogouins or Cayuga; and lastly, “People of the Big Hill” (Tsonnontouans/Seneca), who were guardians of the Western door. The term goyogouin could mean “people of the great swamp”, “people of the pipe”, or “people of the porterage”, but linguists remain undecided on this (John Steckley, pers. comm. June 2014).

2 Lafitau knew the Iroquois best, but he also relies here on the writings of Brother Sagard, the first author to provide a detailed description of wampum, after staying with the Huron in 1623-1624: “In all the towns, villages and hamlets of our Huron, they collect a large number of wampum belts, glass beads, axes, knives [...]. Now it so happens that all these things are put into the hands and custody of one of the Captains of the place [...] as the Treasurer of the Republic [...].” (Sagard 1998 [1632]: 335) See also Turgeon 2019: 202.

3 See, for example, Truteau 2017 [1794-1796]: 100.

4 On the “agency” of Native American ritual objects, see for example: Fausto 2011.

5 On this aspect, see: Viau 1997: 79 et 162 ; Balloy 2019: 231 sq.

6 This idea comes from Emmanuel Désveaux (pers. comm. 2016), and we try to substantiate it here.

7 This episode resembles other mythological narratives in which there is an impostor covered in beads, “Spitting-Beads”, or “Clothed-in-Beads”. See: Lévi-Strauss 1968; Balloy 2019: 127-128.

8 One can find three different spellings of this name: Kiotsaeton (JR 1897[1642-1645]: 248, 250, 266 and 270), Kioutsaeton (JR 1898[1645-1646]: 300) and Kiotsaton (Marie de l’Incarnation 1971: 253). See also: JR 1898 [1645-1646]: 315.

9 “Words of the Indians” is the name often given to the declarations by Native American ambassadors, translated and transcribed; in addition, these “words” are sometimes referred to as “collars [strings/belts]” in conference reports (“first collar [strings/belt]”, “second collar [strings/belt]”, etc.). See: Havard 2017 [2003]: 34-36; Broué 2017.

10 Hewitt bases his account on that of the Onondaga John Skanawati Buck, written in 1888. See: Hewitt 1892; Fenton 1998:76-77; Lainey 2004:36-38.

11 See: Hewitt 1892: 140; on Hiawatha, see: Hale 1883; Fenton 1998: 62-63. In another version of the myth, collected by Curtin, we find the snake- hair relation and a large snake coiled around Thadoda: ho’s body (ibid: 79).

12 See also Marie de l’Incarnation 1971 [1640-1672]: 254-255.

13 On the traditional Iroquois cheers of approval (perhaps heard on that day), see: Fenton 1985: 20 and 24.

14 On these sensory purifications see: Foster 1985.

15 On the Iroquois War, see: Désveaux 2017: 45-59; Viau 1997.

16 Captured in 1689, Father Millet was finally adopted, with the name of a founder of the Iroquois League, Odatshete. So he sat on the assembly of the Five Iroquois Nations as an Oneida Chief.

17 On the peace of 1701, see: Havard 2001; Beaulieu and Viau 2001.

18 Benjamin Balloy, pers. comm. June 2021.

19 On the “porcelain sun”, see also: Lainey 2004: 69. The Natives of the Montagne (a mission founded in 1675) were mainly Iroquois, but there were also Algonquin, Nepissing, Sokoki and Wolves (see Lozier 2014).

20 There are actually thirty-eight or thirty-nine signatures on the treaty, but it is possible that Callière failed to give wampum belts to the Illinois chiefs, who were not physically present. The other possibility is that Bacqueville de La Potherie made a mistake.

21 This refers to the fact that Vaudreuil had been the governor of Montreal in 1701.

22 Interestingly, some of the belts were “divided in two so that the same one could be used for two words.”

23 See also: RAPQ 1932-1933: 326; Delâge 2009.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Neck-worn ornament. Northeastern North America, before 1725.
Légende Quahog shell (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk shell, hide, porcupine quills, vegetable fibers. Length 107.6 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1878.32.56. This item was probably part of the collection of Louis Léon Pajot, the Count of Ons-en-Bray, and General Director of the Postes et Relais de France, whose cabinets of mechanics, hydraulics, clocks and curiosities were bequeathed to the Académie royale des sciences on his death in 1754.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6183/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 496k
Titre Fig. 2. Wampum belt. Northeastern North America, c. 1700.
Légende Quahog shell (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk shell, hide, porcupine quills, vegetable fibers. Length 91 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1878.32.57. Former collection of the Cabinet des médailles [Coin Cabinet], Bibliothèque nationale de France
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6183/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 232k
Titre Fig. 3. Louis Nicolas (attributed to) “Here is a deputy from the village of Gannachiou-aré who is inviting to the game the men from Gandaouagoahga. They believe the snake is the god of fire. They invoke him by holding it in the hand while dancing and singing.” Codex Canadensis, p. 11, folio 15, n. d. [c. 1664-1675]. Ink on paper, 33,7 x 21,6 cm.
Légende The Jesuit missionary Louis Nicolas, credited as the author of the Codex Canadensis, spent eleven years in New France (1664-1675), traveling to the western end of the Lake Superior, and spending time with Indigenous peoples of various languages (Algonquin, Iroquois, Sioux). His work is an exceptional source on Native American ethnography and natural history.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6183/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
Titre Fig. 4. Joseph-François Lafitau. “This plate concerns the Embassies & Commerce of the Indians from Northern America. The first scene shows a Indian at a Council speaking with porcelaine belts. The belt he holds in his hand is presented on a larger scale at the bottom of the subject.” Mœurs des sauvages amériquains comparées aux moeurs des premiers temps, vol. 2. Paris, Saugrin l’Aîné, 1724, Pl. 15. Engraving, 22 x 14.7 cm.
Légende The Jesuit missionary Lafitau spent nearly six years (1712-1717) among the Iroquois of Sault Saint-Louis (Kahnawake) and in 1724 published a book in which he compared Iroquois customs to those of ancient peoples (Hebrews, Greeks... ) to show that there was nothing aberrant about them.
Crédits Paris, BnF, département Philosophie, histoire, sciences de l’homme, PANGRAND-383, p. 314.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6183/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,4M
Titre Fig. 5. Francis Back, Reconstruction of the gathering of August 4, 1701 preceding the signing of the Great Peace of Montreal, 2001. 75 x 50 cm, ink, gouache and colored pencils on cardboard.
Crédits © Francis Back. 2001. Raphaëlle & Félix Back.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6183/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 844k
Titre Fig. 6. Louis-Armand de Lom d’Arce, baron de Lahontan, “Porcelaine belt [and] calumet” during the Great Peace of Montreal. Nouveaux voyages de Mr. le baron de Lahontan, dans l’Amérique septentrionale, vol. 1. La Haye, chez les Frères l’Honoré, marchands libraires, 1703, n. p., view 79. Engraving, 13.1 x 8.4 cm.
Légende Lahontan lived for ten years in New France (1683-1693), where he served in the troops of the Navy. In the three works inspired by his stay in North America, which will meet a great success in the 18th century, he provides a critical and ironic charge against European civilization.
Crédits Paris, BnF, département Réserve des livres rares, RES 8-P-2021 (1).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6183/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,3M
Titre Fig. 7. Pectoral worn by captains or war chiefs as a symbol of status. Central Plains or eastern North America, ca. 1690-1725. Whelk shell, vegetable fibers.
Légende This type of pectoral is illustrated in the reference works of Bacqueville de La Potherie (1722) and Joseph-François Lafitau (1724). Michel Bégon, the naval quartermaster at Rochefort (1688-1710), describes a specimen in his private collection at the end of the 17th century.
Crédits Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1934.33.36 D. Long term-loan from the Versailles Public Library © musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, photo Patrick Gries, Valérie Torres.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6183/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 625k
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Pour citer cet article

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Gilles Havard, « The Mediating Role of Wampum in French-Native American Diplomacy (17th-18th Centuries) »Gradhiva, 33 | 2022, 22-39.

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Gilles Havard, « The Mediating Role of Wampum in French-Native American Diplomacy (17th-18th Centuries) »Gradhiva [En ligne], 33 | 2022, mis en ligne le 15 juin 2022, consulté le 26 juin 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/6183 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/gradhiva.6183

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Auteur

Gilles Havard

Centre national de la recherche scientifique
gilles.havard[at]ehess.fr

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