What are Wampanoag art and crafts like?
The Wampanoag tribe was known for their fine craftsmanship. They created beadwork, baskets and wampum out of white and purple shell beads.
When Indians used beads they had to make them. These beads were called Wampum. There were 2 kinds of beads. The white beads were made from the inside of the conch shell. The dark beads which ranged from purple to blue or black were taken from the quahog shell. They drilled holes in the shells with a sharp tool. Beads were laced with tendons or narrow strips of deerskin and and into necklaces, bracelets, belts and strings.
Each set of wampum had a value, the darkest being worth twice as much as the white. Wampum had many uses. Important events were recorded in belts by arranging wampum in a special design.
Wampum was used to record treaties. Strings of beads were used to send messages and to identify the messenger. When a gift of wampum was received an equal amount of wampum was expected in return. Click here to go back to the question page