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Wampum Belt to Return to Wampanoag Nation

By News Team
Published on September 30, 2021

Wampum Belt Steven Peters, at the Mayflower 400 reception, receiving the Wampum Belt PHOTO: MAYFLOWER 400

400 years ago, the passengers of the Mayflower arrived in Native America – in the home of the Wampanoag people. 400 years on, a representative of the Wampanoag Nation is in England as a new wampum belt - that has been touring the UK - is prepared to return to the Wampanoag in Massachusetts.

Steven Peters, a tribal member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation received the thanks of Mayflower 400 in Plymouth, England at a reception held at The Box on Monday September 27. Steven has been key to the Mayflower 400 partnership, which has delivered the national programme and ensured a shared history has been told for the first time. He was yesterday reunited with the wampum belt, made by people of the Wampanoag Nation.

This is significant, as a famous wampum belt that was brought to England more than 300 years ago has not yet been returned. The wampum belt of the Wampanoag chief Metacom, taken from his dead body, was sent to England in 1677 and went missing. It has been the subject of an intensive international search that began in late 1970 and continues to this day.

Commissioned to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, the new wampum belt formed the central part of Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America – a touring exhibition co-curated by the Wampanoag people alongside The Box, Plymouth, and The British Museum.

Steven Peters talked to those attending the reception about the significance of the Mayflower 400 partnership, the symbolism of the new wampum belt and its tour of the UK, as well as his work on the Legend and Legacy exhibition at The Box, Plymouth.

The Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Terri Beer and Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Nick Kelly, personally thanked Steven, and the Wampanoag people for their support for Mayflower 400 and their defining contributions to commemorations on both sides of the Atlantic.

The reception was attended by dignitaries, partners and contributors to the Mayflower 400 programme including representatives from the US Embassy, and Plymouth City Council.

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