Nolumbeka and Elizabeth James Perry: An Island Perspective on Wampum

nolumbeka elizabeth perry wampum poster

Saturday, February 2, Full Snow Moon Gathering, Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. “An Island Perspective on Wampum”. 11 a.m. to noon.

Join Aquinnah Wampanoag Researcher and Artist Elizabeth James-Perry of Original Wampum Art for an informative presentation focused on historic wampum arts, including adornment, diplomacy and record keeping from the perspective of a Native woman, which will include a demonstration of wampum weaving. Free. All welcome. Elizabeth will bring a display of her wampum jewelry for sale.

1—3:30 p.m. Traditional Wampum Bead-making workshop follows. Limited to 30 participants.  Materials fee $40 per person, cash, on day of workshop.  Minimum age, 15. Pre-registration recommended at Nolumbekaproject@gmail.com

Elizabeth James-Perry is enrolled with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head -Aquinnah, a community located by the richly colored clay cliffs of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard). She is a contemporary and traditional artist, speaker and exhibit consultant.  She continues the work of her many tribal mentors to shore up culture, through museum and archival research in local and international collections. In her creative process, Elizabeth focuses on early Northeastern Woodlands Native American culture, including traditional regalia, diplomacy and ancient wampum design. The artist explores the rich purple hues of the quahog shell in designing jewelry, sculpturing whale and bear effigies; and making fine beads to weave the luxurious drape of collars and belts.  She has revived traditional coastal plant dyes, using them to create museum-quality textile arts in milkweed and woven quillwork.  Elizabeth’s art has received national recognition; earning awards at the Heard Museum Art Show; as well as the 2014 Traditional Arts Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Weather concerns? Check www.nolumbekaproject.org for cancellation. Snow date, February 3, 2019.

Co-sponsored by DCR  and a grant from the Montague Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Dr. Marge Bruchac in Northampton, On the Wampum Trail

marge-bruchac-wampum-trail

A talk was given by Dr. Margaret Bruchac on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 at Historic Northampton, 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA, entitled “The Wampum Trail: Restorative Research in Native American Collections”

A pdf of the flyer for the presentation can be seen here.

The “Wampum Trail” research project examines the use of northeastern Native American quahog and whelk shell beads for adornment, ritual, and diplomacy. During the early 1600s, wampum beads were widely used in trading exchanges throughout the Connecticut River Valley, but wampum’s significance was more than merely monetary. Native artisans used distinctive weaving techniques (with sinew, leather, and hemp), bead selections (including glass, stone, and other anomalous beads), and patterns (both abstract and figurative) to construct belts that recorded important material and diplomatic relationships.
By re-visiting archival sources and analyzing the construction of beads and belts in museum collections, Dr. Bruchac has recovered many previously overlooked material details. She also consults with present-day Native American wampum-keepers to develop effective strategies for recovering other hidden Native American object histories in museum collections. For more information, see her research blog, “On the Wampum Trail,” and her articles on the Penn Museum Blog, “Beyond the Gallery Walls.”

Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Associate Professor of Cultural Heritage, and Coordinator of Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2003-2010, she served as the Five College Repatriation Research Liaison, and from 1998-2010, she served as a Trustee of Historic Northampton. Her publications include “Native Presence in Nonotuck and Northampton,” in A Place Called Paradise: Culture and Community in Northampton, Massachusetts, 1654-2004 (Kerry Buckley, ed., University of Massachusetts Press 2004), and “Lost and Found: NAGPRA, Scattered Relics and Restorative Methodologies” (Museum Anthropology 2010).