The Hiawatha Wampum Belt is a visual record of the creation of the League of the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Six Nations or Iroquois). The date of that event is the subject of considerable debate: estimates range from hundreds to over a thousand years ago, but Haudenosaunee oral tradition of that event has remained constant. At the center of the Hiawatha Belt is the Confederacy's symbol, the "Great White Pine," also known as the "Tree of Peace." The center figure also represents the Onondaga Nation where the central council fires reside -- all issues involving the entire Confederacy are debated and decided there. The other Haudenosaunee nations are visualized as squares: on the outer edges are the Mohawks, guardians of the Eastern Door; and the Seneca, Keepers of the Western Door. The Oneida and Cayuga are depicted in the two inner squares; the Tuscarora, the sixth nation in the Confederacy, joined after this Wampum was created.
The Hiawatha Wampum Belt also encapsulates the origins of the Haudenosaunee's guiding principles, which were first described to them by a man called the Peacemaker.
John Mohawk, Ph.D. (Seneca)
Oren Lyons (Seneca)
The Peacemaker used as a symbol of our Confederacy not a flag, but a tree, the great white pine. The Tree of Peace. And at the base of that tree grow four white roots in the four cardinal directions of the earth: north, south, east, and west. And any nation that can embrace the concepts of peace, power, and righteousness can follow back one of those roots to the tree of Peace and join there with us."
G. Peter Jemison
For a complete account of the Haudenosaunee Great Law and the account of the Peacemaker, visit: http://sixnations.buffnet.net