Documents woven of shell beads, called wampum (otgowa), record Onondaga and Haudenosaunee history and brings to life the voice of the ancestors. Here we share the oral teachings of the wampum belts associated with the Great Law of Peace. Hiawatha (Hayenhwátha’) was said to have found shell beads on a dry lake bed where Tully lakes are now located. He presented those beads to the Peacemaker who declared that they would be used to record the Great Law of Peace.
Together, the original Chiefs wove these belts with symbolic designs to keep the words of the Peacemaker and the concepts of Skä·noñh alive. The original belts are held by the Onondaga Nation and the Confederacy Chiefs Council at Grand River. The belts seen here are replicas made of ceramic beads that appear much like the actual wampum.