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Catalog Number 1949.091.001
Object Name Currency
Description 1 - wampum belt. Purple & white shell beads on leather cords. 7 rows wide, cylindrical beads. Section of purple beads, then 5 rows white, then wide section of purple, then center section of 7 rows white, then repeat of wide purple section, 5 rows white, purple end.

This wampum belt, made of traditional purple and white beads, was the Indians' method for recording important events, in this case transfer of a large piece of land. It was attached to a handwritten deed for c. 2000 Acres at the west end of Lake Superior to Robert Rogers, an English major, from the Chippewa. The deed was signed at Detroit on December 23, 1760 (Burton says this is the date he left for Pittsburgh). by Chiefs Ogemavas, Nawkusick, Moyeltice and Kechicushonce. The area transferred was bounded by Lake Superior on the north, the Ontonagon River on the east and the Copper River on the west. The Indians retained hunting and fishing rights. According to the deed, " a desire to convince the World that we will grant him our Country with Troop as well as for the Consideration of 100 white blankets, Fifty .... blankets, Twenty barrels of Rum, forty Pounds Vermillion, Twenty thousand wampum and three hundred pounds of Gun powder, Two hundred of Shot and Ball. The deed was signed less than a month after Rogers had taken over Detroit (Ft. Pontchartrain) from the French. Rogers had interests in the Upper Peninsula but because of the late season postponed going to Michilimackinac to transfer that post from the French. Roger's possible connection to the land on the west side of Lake Superior occurred when he sent an expedition there while trying to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean. The deed was transferred to Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library as a permanent loan in 1949.


Collection Native American
Date 1760
Dimensions W-18.5 D-2 inches
Material shell & leather
Search Terms Wampum Belts
Chippewa