Wampum Belt

Kaley Fournier, Mohegan / American, born 1998



Wampum beads, sinew, and deerskin leather mounted on cedar

Overall: 5 3/16 × 32 11/16 × 5 5/8 in. (13.2 × 83 × 14.3 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of the Mohegan people to Dartmouth College. Transferred by the Office of the President, Dartmouth College



Place Made: United States, North America


21st century

Object Name


Research Area

Native American

Not on view


Signed, on reverse, upper left corner, in black ink: KF Mohegan / 22


Wampum has long been exchanged between Indigenous and other nations. Differing from written treaties, wampum signifies the beginning of a living relationship between two parties and their intention to continually discuss and revisit their mutual obligation to one another. 

In April 2022, the Mohegan Tribe presented this wampum belt to Dartmouth College when Dartmouth repatriated Samson Occom’s papers. Occom was a citizen of the Mohegan Tribe and a Presbyterian cleric who traveled to England to raise the funds for Dartmouth’s founding. Without Occom’s efforts, Dartmouth would not exist. According to Mohegan Medicine Woman Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, the purple beads signify a history of conflict, and the white beads symbolize cleansing. Thus, this belt “is a joining of two peoples who have been in conflict but are now one in friendship.”

From the 2022 exhibition Historical Imaginary, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

Film Studies 42.23, Travelers and Tourists, Heidi Denzel, Spring 2023

History 63.02, Reading Artifacts: The Material Culture of Science, Whitney Barlow Robles, Spring 2023

Exhibition History

Historical Imaginary, Luise and Morton Kaish Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 17, 2022-November 12, 2023.

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