Serving New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Eight Tribal Nations
The Hiawatha Belt is comprised of 6,574 wampum beads - 38 rows by 173 rows and has 892 white and 5682 purple beads. The purple represents the sky or universe that surrounds us, and the white represents purity and Good Mind (good thoughts, forgiveness, and understanding). The belt symbolizes the five original nations from east to west in their respective territories across New York state - Seneca (People of the Great Hill), Cayuga (People of the Swamp), Onondaga (Keepers of the Fire), Oneida (People of the Standing Stone), and Mohawk (People of the Flint). Each nation is represented by open ‘squares’ of white beads with the central figure signifying a tree or heart. The white open squares are connected by a white band that has no beginning or end, representing all time now and forever. The band, however, does not cross through the center of each nation, meaning that each nation is supported and unified by a common bond and that each is separate in its own identity and domain. The open center also signifies the idea of a fort protected on all sides, but open in the center, symbolizing an open heart and mind within.