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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Lazore

Ithaca, NY Two Row Wampum 400th Anniversary Mural

Updated: Apr 2

In 2013 The City of Ithaca's Public Art Commission along with several other contributing organizations collaborated with Cayuga Nation for a call-out for artists to submit a design commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Two Row Wampum Belt which recorded the first agreement between the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk), a member nation of the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch to be painted on a wall of one of the city’s busiest bus stop.

The highly trafficked area was the perfect place to share the history of Tompkins County and to acknowledge the ancestral and contemporary relationship the Cayuga Nation has to the region. Brandon submitted a piece of artwork that honored the founding of the Two Row Wampum in a contemporary way while incorporating the requested design elements. His piece was selected by the Cayuga Nation and celebrated by the Mayor and The City of Ithaca's Public Art Commission.

Getting Selected 

Brandon recently returned to art after pursuing a career in concrete engineering and was focused on rehoning his artistic talents when a random fan of Brandon’s graffiti art sent him a flyer online with the mural submission requirements. Brandon applied and was selected from a pool of dozens of candidates. Through this artistic undertaking, Brandon had the opportunity to meet with the mayor of Ithaca, Svante Myrick.

During this meeting, Brandon showed him a drawing he made featuring the two-row wampum mural design. Brandon transformed this drawing into a larger piece for the mural that contained several layers of symbolism that represented the Haudenosaunee's unbroken commitment to the treaties they made with European settlers.

About the Two Row Wampum 400th Anniversary Mural 

Brandon’s mural design depicts 5 chiefs of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy holding various wampum belts that show the Confederacy’s commitment to the terms of those treaties for the past 400 years. On the left column, you see the Prophesy Wampum Belt of the Peacemaker. The belt depicts the descent of the Peacemaker to Turtle Island from the Sky World.

The heart in the middle of the figure represents the message of peace that he brings to the Haudenosaunee. The diamond represents the four directions in which his message travels. On the right column of the mural is the Evergrowing Tree/ Dust Fan Wampum Belt, a symbol of the Great Law of Peace. Painted on the interior of the two columns are corn, beans, squash, and strawberries.

Between the two large vertical columns are Seneca and Cayuga Chiefs holding the Two Row Wampum. To the right of them is an Onondaga Chief holding the Hiawatha Wampum Belt and the last two chiefs are Oneida and Mohawk Chiefs holding the Canandaigua Treaty/ George Washington Wampum Belt. 

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