Sacred Symbol: Beauty of Wampum

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Shared on behalf of Sarah Schumann – Rhode Island Sea Grant

“Allen Hazard, a wampum maker and member of the Narragansett Tribe, carries on an age-old tradition of creating objects of beauty and symbolism with quahog shells. Hazard is one of only three artisans in the world who make wampum in the traditional Eastern Native way. Contrary to popular belief, wampum did not attain the status of currency until after the arrival of Europeans on American shores.

Here, Hazard talks about what the quahog shell represented, and continues to represent, to the Narragansett Tribe:

Wampum is sacred. That’s the word to use when you’re speaking about wampum with a traditional Eastern Native. Why? Because anything that gave its life so that we could continue ours was deemed special. There’s no other way to put it. Money doesn’t do that.”

Please click here to read the full article.

*Photo by Acacia Johnson*