David Zeisberger: A Life among the Indians

By Earl P. Olmstead; David Zeisberger | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Zeisberger's Comments on the Use of Wampum

DURING THIS meeting with Packanke and his council, wampum was given to confirm each of the various points made by the speaker. Being illiterate people with no knowledge of the written word, they needed physical evidence of the conversation. Wampum was used frequently in native diplomacy. Zeisberger has left one of the most succinct yet descriptive explanations of this practice. It was written shortly after a conference with Packanke on July 11, 1770, just before Jacob Gendaskund, a convert and former captain, conferred with Packanke. It also explains why the native chiefs were so opposed to the Christianizing of their people.

It is common usage among the Indians to support the chiefs and to enable them to negotiate with one another as well as with other nations. For this they need wampum, because in a speech they accompany and confirm each one of their sentences with a string of wampum. Without these, their words do not carry any weight and are not taken any notice of. Now, if for instance they have to send off an important message or to "hold" a treaty with the white people the Indians in all the towns are notified that they will have to contribute Wampum, and sometimes, or rather very seldom, they are asked for furs. There is no law or regulation as to how many they have to give, but

Tilda Marx, trans., "Lagundo Utenunk Diary", July 11, 1770, 116-17.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
David Zeisberger: A Life among the Indians
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 444

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?