Harmonizing Evidence-Based Knowledge Systems

Onkwehón:we Traditional Knowledge

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Western Obstetrical Knowledge

Two-Row Wampum Belt Treaty

The Two-Row Wampum belt is one of the treaties that was first used by the Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy when ~ the Great Law of Peace, Power and Righteousness ~ united the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca Nations approximately 1,000 years ago. The Two-Row Wampum symbolizes everlasting equality between genders and nations through peace and friendship. This treaty continues to be honoured.

The addition of the Tuscarora Nation in the early 1700’s created the (now) Six Nations Confederacy. The Two-Row was also the original treaty made between the Haudenosaunee and the Europeans: the Dutch in 1613 followed by the British and the French. This treaty recognizing the right to distinct ~ ways (culture), words (language), ceremony (belief), governance and territory ~ was to be honoured: ‘As long as the grass grows, as long as the rivers flow, as long as the sun shall rise.’

The white beads symbolize a river and the two parallel purple rows of beads represent two vessels, one a canoe and the other, a European boat. ‘We should live as brothers, side by side, treating each other as equals. At this time of healing and reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and the descendants of the European colonizers, it is important to reassert and honour the treaty agreements, restore the promised friendship and heal the international relationships that were violated when the treaties were broken. The grass still grows, the rivers still flow and the sun still rises.