The Two Row Wampum

The Two Row Wampum, a 17th-century treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch colonists, was the first treaty made by the confederacy with European settlers. It is understood by the Haudenosaunee to be the basis on which all subsequent treaties were made and as a model of relationships between peoples. The wampum itself is a white shell belt with two purple rows. The white field symbolizes peace and friendship and the two purple rows represent the separate but equal paths of two sovereign nations.

You say that you are our father and I am your son.
We say, We will not be like Father and Son, but like Brothers.
This wampum belt confirms our words.

These two rows will symbolize two paths or two vessels, traveling down the same river together. One, a birch bark canoe, will be for the Indian people, their laws, their customs and their ways. The other, a ship, will be for the white people and their laws, their customs and their ways. We shall each travel the river together, side by side, but in our boat. Neither of us will make compulsory laws or interfere in the internal affairs of the other. Neither of us will try to steer the otherís vessel.

The agreement has been kept by the Haudenosaunee to this date.

This article is reprinted from www.sixnations.org, the official website of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.