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Wampum and Social Creativity among The Iroquois

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Abstract

In this chapter, I’d like to say a little bit about wampum, the white and purple shell beads which became a currency of trade in early colonial Northeast North America. Among “primitive valuables”—a category that includes such things as kula necklaces, Kwakiutl coppers, or the iron bars used in bridewealth exchange by the West African Tiv—wampum holds a rather curious place. Simply as an object, it’s by far the most familiar. The average reader is much more likely to know what wampum looks like, or to have actually seen some in a museum, than any of the others. Nonetheless, unlike the others, wampum has never been treated as a classic case in anthropological exchange theory.

Keywords

  • Anthropological Theory
  • Social Creativity
  • Ordinary Conversation
  • Revitalization Movement
  • English Trader

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9780312299064_5
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© 2001 David Graeber

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Graeber, D. (2001). Wampum and Social Creativity among The Iroquois. In: Toward An Anthropological Theory of Value. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780312299064_5

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