Wampum belt made out of tubular-shaped purple and white mollusk shells that create a geometric design
Credit: Flickr
Original Author: Pat Jarrett/Virginia Humanities
Created: July 30, 2021
Medium: Digital photograph

Contemporary Nottoway Wampum Belt

Chief Lynette Allston of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia holds a wampum belt in this 2021 photograph. Assistant Chief Archie Elliott made the contemporary belt using traditional methods. Fashioned from tubular beads made from mollusk shells, the belt's geometric design tells a story. These types of beads, or wampum, were a trade item between Native groups. After European settlement, wampum became a commodity in trade with English and Dutch colonists in parts of North America.