The Orphanmaster Trades Beads

Book Passage in Marin County offers a wonderful environment to present about a book. I got a bunch of good questions after my slide show, including one about seewan, or wampum. What is it, actually?

Wampum beads were carved from the shell of the quahog clam. In colonial New Amsterdam, they were made into ropes, then used as currency and, for Native Americans, had a ceremonial function. The purple shell was more valuable than the white. Both are beautiful, even if their value is long gone.

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Filed under History, Jean Zimmerman, Publishing, The Orphanmaster

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