Meeting Register Page

Meeting banner
“Of Animacy and Afterlives: Material Memories in Wampum Collections” with Margaret Bruchac
While surveying wampum in museum collections, I encountered a unique category of ethnographic objects: Northeastern Native American wooden clubs and wooden bowls embedded with wampum beads. These seventeenth century objects include beads that— from the obvious evidence of drilled holes and traces of fiber weft — appear to have been removed from a woven object (likely a collar or belt) and set into a wooden object. Heretofore, these wampum inclusions have been interpreted as merely adornment. Yet, the meticulous placement of these repurposed beads (e.g., inside a burl bowl, or along the spine of a war club) signals more than decorative purposes. The act of transforming a wampum belt (typically a tool of diplomacy) into a war club (typically a weapon of conflict) is best understood by considering the ontological and ritual details that inspire and inform the material expression of symbolic messaging in these and other objects of power.

May 10, 2022 06:00 PM in Montreal