The Story of Wampum Continues with Eric Johnson

Click here for a 73-minute lecture by Eric Johnson, PhD. filmed at Pascack Historical Society Museum, on June 25, 2023.

Wampum was used by Native Americans as a powerful sacred object for making peace and declaring treaty rights, said Johnson, who noted that he is working with representatives from the Ramapough Lunaape (Lenape) Nation, to investigate other local areas of possible wampum production.

Occasionally, wampum was used as currency by cash-poor European colonists, but the beads went beyond currency or fashion for Native peoples.  “Certain types of wampum, such as hair pipes, are worn at pow-wows, ceremonies and other important events,” said Johnson. 

One-hundred-seventy years ago or so the Campbell Wampum Factory closed its doors in Park Ridge’s Mill Pond area and moved its wampum production to another location along the Pascack Brook, plus scattered local home-based production sites, according to Eric Johnson, a Harvard University doctoral candidate in archeology.