For generations, the Indigenous people in the northeast region of North America have used wampum, onikó:lha’ (o knee goal), for ceremonial, ornamental, diplomatic and commercial purposes. Wampum has represented friendship, alliances, and rank. In some cases, it is considered part of the historical record.
Comprised of numerous stands of beads that are woven together and made into a belt, the process to make wampum is very labor intensive. Considered sacred to the Oneida’s and other Haudenosaunee, wampum contains the wisdom of their ancestors and memorializes their rich history.
The Rome Historical Society will host “Oneida Wampum,” a program with an Oneida Indian Nation member of the Wolf Clan set for Wednesday, January 18th.
This program will explore that rich history with the Oneida Heritage/Shako:wi Cultural Center Manager Ron Patterson. With a deep knowledge of Indigenous culture, Patterson seeks to educate and pass on Haudenosaunee traditions for the next generation.
Today Rome, NY is situated on the former land portage, long known as the Oneida Carrying Place which reminds us to celebrate the cultural diversity and societal contributions of the Oneida and all Indigenous people of the region.
This program will begin at 5:30 pm and will be held in the Rome Historical Society auditorium, located at 200 Church Street, in Rome. For more information, call (315) 336-5870 or visit their website.
Photo of wampum courtesy the Oneida Indian Nation.