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T

HE

W

AMPUM

W

ARRIOR

Trading Post Times

Page 2

Wampum are traditional, sa-

cred shell beads of the Eastern

Woodlands tribes. The term

“wampum” is a shortened ver-

sion of the earlier word

“wampumpeag” which is de-

rived from the Narragansett

wording meaning “white

strings”

White and purple beads, fre-

quently created from the qua-

hog clam, were used to create

woven wampum belts that com-

memorated treaties or historical

events, and for exchange in

personal social transactions,

such as marriage.

Wampum also was used for

storytelling. The symbols used

told a story in the oral tradition

since there was no written lan-

guage. Wampum became a

very important way to keep

records and pass stories along

to future generations. Wam-

pum also was “Americas first

currency.”

During the 1700s, Europeans

introduced that glass bead, and

the glass bead was incorporated

into wampum belts.

Today, Métis artist Don Stand-

ing Bear Forest is one of a very

few to keep the wampum art

and tradition alive.

Standing Bear creates quahog

shell wampum jewelry of his

own design, as well as replicas

of original wampum belts. He

also weaves wampum belts

using glass beads that are im-

ported from Czechoslovakia, as

they were since the early 1700s.

Of his work, he says, “It is a

labor of spiritual significance.

It allows people to know that

our people are still alive, proud

and doing well, living in both

worlds.”

Today, you can enjoy Don

Standing Bear’s work at River

Trading Post.

Picture Lower Left: Unity of Clans

wampum belt by Don Standing Bear

Forest

ing Navajo translators. The

result is a look at the lives of

these extraordinary artists with

greater depth than any author

has achieved. Indeed, Mark

details the lives and work of 90

Master Weavers.

The 608 page volume contains

hundreds of photographs, gene-

alogies of all of the Master

Indian Trader Mark Winter’s

The Master Weavers

was 23 years

of sweat and research in its

creation. The result is the de-

finitive work on the textiles of

the Toadlena/Two Grey Hills

weaving region.

Mark spent hundreds of hours

interviewing Navajo weavers

and their families, many requir-

Weavers, and much more.

The cover price of $125 brings

sticker shock to some. But this

volume is an essential part of

any great American Indian Art

library.

A

FTER

23 Y

EARS

I

N

T

HE

M

AKING

, A B

OOK

I

S

B

ORN

document that will help to

guide you in evaluating either a

special piece from your collec-

tion, or your entire collection.

The guide will take you through

a step-by-step process, from

valuation to appraisal to au-

thentication of your piece, or

collection.

Whether you are just curious,

perhaps need a valuation for

insurance purposes, or a full

blown appraisal for charitable

donation purposes, you will

find this a handy reference

piece.

You can find the guide by click-

ing the

Library and Collector’s

Tips

on our homepage at

www.rivertradingpost.com

.

This is the question we get from

dozens of collectors each and

every week.

And, we try our best to help

them find an answer to the

question.

If you have the same question,

might we suggest that you visit

our website where you can find

some guidance. Our on-line

library includes a great little

J

UST

H

OW

M

UCH

I

S

M

Y

F

AVORITE

P

IECE

W

ORTH

?