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‘Polishing the Chain’ ceremony renews bonds between Queen’s and Indigenous communities

Tehontatenentsonterontahkhwa - Friendship Wampum belt
The Tehontatenentsonterontahkhwa - Friendship Wampum Belt - was presented to Queen's by the Clan Mothers at Tyendinaga, and the Grandmothers' Council.

A special ceremony took place ahead of the Jan. 25 meeting of Queen’s Senate, to highlight the continuing bond between the university and local Indigenous communities.

The ‘polishing the chain’ ceremony is a reminder that the relationship between Queen’s and Indigenous peoples is ongoing and not merely a moment in time.

The ceremony revisits the promise of the Tehontatenentsonterontahkhwa (friendship wampum belt), which was presented to the university as Queen’s marked its 175th anniversary during a Senate meeting on March 7, 2017. The Tehontatenentsonterontahkhwa was presented by the Clan Mothers at Tyendinaga, and the Grandmothers' Council of Katarokwi.

The belt is now placed at the head table during every Senate meeting as a reminder that the university sits on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory as well as the commitments made to each other over the years.

As part of the ceremony, Elder Allen Doxtator - Te howis kwûnt, offered the words before all else in English and Oneida.

Wampum are traditionally beads made from quahog shells. Belts made of wampum are used to mark agreements, contracts, and commitments between peoples and nations and are of particular significance when associated with treaties or covenants.