Ancient, Timeless, and Original

The Wampum is more than a bead. It’s a promise.


Welcome to Ockway Bay Wampum specializing in contemporary wampum jewelry handcrafted and designed by native artist Hartman Deetz of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.  Our wampum is made using traditional and locally sourced materials. Wampum are beads and jewelry cut from Quahog clam shells. Wampum was woven into belts using pure purple and white beads to create an illustration of the bonds forged between people. These shells signified wealth and leadership in the tradition of the Wampanoag. Deetz work reflects this strong historical background in his selections of design and material with some selective contemporary additions

 

Request a Custom Order

Want to commission a custom order? We’ve got you covered. Ockway Bay Wampum will happily work with you to handcraft exactly what you’re looking for. Get started using the button below or email us directly at ockwaybaywampum.com. After receiving your request, we will get in touch to work out the details.

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Ancient, Timeless, and Original

About the Wampum

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Cultural Importance

Culturally Wampum beads were woven into “Belts” creating patterns by alternating between purple and white beads. These “Wampum Belts” were often created as treaties between Tribal Nations and held a value beyond the material, these beads also symbolized ongoing commitments to reciprocity.

 
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The Quahog Clam

Our wampum is cut from the quahog clam shell, which are distinct for its purple and white bands, which can be smoothed to a high polished shine. These clams native habitat is limited to the costal waters between the Gulf of Maine and Long Island Sound.

 
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The Process

The process of making a bead from the quahog clam shell can be broken down simply to a four step process: rough cut, drill, smooth and shape, and polish. The finished pieces are then strung as necklaces or bracelets, used as earrings, buttons, or ring cabs.
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A Note from the Artist

Ockway Bay is a special place to me, in my tribal homeland of Mashpee, Massachusetts.

When I was about 8 or 9 years old it is where my Grandfather Russell “Fast Turtle” Peters first took me out to dig clams, taught me how to dig into the soft sand and drag my foot through until I felt a hard lump, when I found it it was time to get my hands into the shallow water and dig through the sand. We turned up Quahogs, Steamer clams and some mussels, took them back home and ate like kings. This was a part of my summers, a part of my cultural heritage, gathering clams along the same banks as my ancestors had for thousands of years.Now decades later another part of my cultural heritage has come from the hard shell Quahog clam, the art of Wampum.

--- Hartman Deetz

 
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About the Artist

Hartman Deetz is an enrolled member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

Deetz has spent decades honing his skills in traditional Wampanoag arts, wood carving, stone carving, copper work, feather work, antler, bone and Wampum. Deetz learned from his family, and tribal elders and artists such as Daryl Wixon, Bruzzy Hendricks, Stewart Turner, Brian Bartibogue, and Bob Charlibioux.

Deetz worked in museum artifact reproduction and exhibits contracting, as well he is a pow wow dancer who has made much of his own dance regalia.

 
 
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Wampum Workshop in the Dawn Lands Aims to Decolonize Commerce Trade and Title in New England


June 14, 2019

Boston, Massachusetts

Hartman Deetz


Colonial Era Wampum Belt, Peabody Museum, Boston Massachusetts, April 2019

Colonial Era Wampum Belt, Peabody Museum, Boston Massachusetts, April 2019

Divest Invest Protect in partnership with Ockway Bay Wampum, and The North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) is excited to announce the launch of its public education series called “The Beads That Bought Manhattan.” This project will create light sculptures and projections, printed speculative indigenous currency, and a UN Declaration on the Rights Of Indigenous Peoples wampum treaty belt as a means to spark a global conversation on value, capital, natural resources, and indigenous economic human rights in a time of climate crisis.


The Wampum Workshop lead by artist Hartman Deetz will work with seven indigenous apprentices in the manufacture wampum and the exploration of indigenous pre-colonial law, customs, and economic systems.


Hartman Deetz (Mashpee Wampanoag)    Photo by Teko Photography

Hartman Deetz (Mashpee Wampanoag)

Photo by Teko Photography

Divest Invest Protect is honored to be uplifting and working with: Victoria Maranda - Mashpee, Andre Gaines - Nipmuc, Tracy Holmes - Aquinnah, Lilah Akin - Penobscott, Maggie Conners - St. Regis Mohawk, Melvin Coombs - Mashpee and Rena Maliszewski - Rappahannock.  

Victoria Miranda Wampanoag states, “My people once used wampum as a form of economic exchange, but for us its significance runs deeper than just its economic use. As with many tribes, the land that we inhabit shapes our tribal culture. For my tribe, we center around the ocean and the water. The water is how we survived as it blessed and continues to bless my people with enumerable gifts to include wampum. Wampum has become a symbol of my people and a symbol of the many blessing that we get from the water.” -


The workshops aim to reconnect to indigenous knowledge and customs in order to imagine an economic future for humanity that doesn’t center the banks of Wall Street. The workshop uses Wampum as a means of decolonizing value, wealth, trade, and economic rights to protect, restore, and revitalize indigenous peoples knowledge and visions of law, justice, and economy.


Wampum is the bead cut from the Quahog shell, its distinctive purple and white bands create beautiful natural diversity in the material, which can be smoothed to a high polished shine. The Quahog clam is geographically limited to the coastal waters between Maine and Long Island and was harvested for food and made into jewelry by the coastal peoples of the North Eastern region. Culturally Wampum was used as far south as the Carolinas, inland throughout the Great Lakes region and north into the Canadian Maritimes. Small tubular beads were woven into “belts” creating patterns by alternating between purple and white beads. These “Wampum Belts” were often created as treaties between Tribal Nations and held value beyond the material, these beads also symbolized ongoing commitments to reciprocity. The Wampum bead was more than just a bead, it was also a promise, a memory, a sacred language of the past and future.

Wampum Workshop Spring 2019. L to R: students Anrdre Gains, Tracy Holmes, and Victoria Miranda.

Wampum Workshop Spring 2019. L to R: students Anrdre Gains, Tracy Holmes, and Victoria Miranda.

Wampum in process of being made by student Andre Gaines, Nipmuc, 2019

Wampum in process of being made by student Andre Gaines, Nipmuc, 2019


Hartman Deetz of the Mashpee Wampanoag states,  


“One of the colonial narratives of the American mythology has always been the story of buying the island of Manhattan, what would become the economic center of the nation, and for a time the world; for a string of beads. These beads were not simply beads, they were Wampum, a means of exchange that carried value beyond the count on the string. Wampum is imbued with a promise of reciprocity, a gift that comes with strings attached, that declares good faith not only in the exchange but in the ongoing promise of mutual respect between distinct groups of people. This is why Wampum was required in land transactions and marriages, because it was not simply a transaction of property, but entering into a relationship with a family community, with the land and its inhabitants. The concepts in bedded in Wampum speak to a different world view on property, value and wealth. Revitalizing traditional knowledge and craft surrounding Wampum is critical for cultural survival, and the passing of knowledge to future generations.”





Huge thank you to NAICOB, Proteus Fund, and individual supporters for helping make this wampum workshop happen!  


For more information on the Beads That Bought Manhattan project and the Wampum Workshop contact: Hartman Deetz, Ockwaybaywampum@gmail.com

Ockway Bay Wampum:  www.ockwaybaywampum.com

Ockway Bay on Facebook: /Ockway

Ockway Bay on Instagram: /ockwaybaywampum/



For more information on the works of the Divest, Invest, Protect program see:  

Divestment Delegation Website: https://wecaninternational.org/pages/divest-invest-protect

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