Wampum Treaty Belts

Wampum Treaty Belts

Discover the art of negotiation! Explore Wampum treaty belts, and design a belt of your own in a similar fashion using Crayola® Bright Fabric Markers!

  • 1.

    Have you ever asked your parents if you could have something or go somewhere, and they responded by saying, “only if you clean your room,“ or “not unless you take out the trash?” What agreement did you make in that situation? Did you clean your room, or work out a different agreement?

  • 2.

    This type of exchange is called a negotiation. When countries or governments negotiate with each other, the agreement they make is called a treaty. Long ago, when Europeans began settling in North America, they made many treaties with native tribes. One such tribe, the Haudenosaunee, recorded their treaties by weaving beautiful Wampum belts that symbolized the agreements. Wampum are beads made from mollusk shells, which are highly valued in the Haudenosaunee culture.

  • 3.

    Research to find examples of Wampum treaty belts. What shapes and images do you see on the belts? What treaties do you think those belts represent?

  • 4.

    Design a treaty belt to represent an agreement you have made with someone. Use the examples of Wampum treaty belts you discovered for inspiration!

  • 5.

    Draw the design on a long, wide strip of fabric with Crayola Bright Fabric Markers! For best results, use 100% cotton fabric. Place a piece of recycled newspaper underneath the drawing area to prevent bleed through. Draw the design, making sure you saturated the cloth. You can use several layers of color to get the brightest results! Stain Advisement: Fabric markers are permanent on clothing and contain colorants that may stain household surfaces. Wear a smock to protect clothing and cover your work surface. Recap markers as soon as possible and store in a horizontal position. Do not shake markers.

  • 6.

    Be creative! Use lots of shapes, swirls, and patterns to symbolize your treaty. Experiment with applying different levels of pressure on the markers as you draw and layering colors for a variety of effects!

  • 7.

    When you are finished, ask an adult to iron your design. Set iron on cotton setting and iron on the reverse side using a back and forth motion for 4 minutes. Or place the treaty belt in the dryer for 30 minutes on the hottest setting. This will fix the color to the fabric.