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The Friendship belt

The Friendship belt records a sequence of treaties made with the Dutch, French and English, and also the Thirteen Colonies (U.S.) in early times. The treaties were covenants made between the native people, Onkwehonwe (Mohawk), Ogwehoweh (Cayuga), and the white man Raseron:ni (Mohawk), Hahnyo:oh (Cayuga) pledging their friendship of peace forevermore. From time to time they should polish their covenant of friendship.


(The thing by which they link arms)

The Friendship Belt, representing the Covenant Chain
Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council of Chiefs, Grand River Territory

The common symbol of peace and unity in wampum diplomacy is two figures holding hands, or interlocking their arms, thereby making a human chain. While the Silver Covenant Chain treaty with the King of Great Britain dates to 1667, this belt was associated with a treaty made with Lt. Governor William Denny of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Crown in 1757.

This Chain of Friendship was employed many times to obligate the Hodinohson:ni to defend the interests of the Crown. The imagery shows two figures, one of the King and the other of the Hodinohson:ni. They hold the chain which represents clear and honest communications between them, as well as the open path of peace that connects the two. To the Grand River Hodinohson:ni, the Covenant Chain obligated to defend the King’s interest.