Mar. 14, 2021


It must have been in grade school when I first heard of wampum. Beads as money? It seemed kind of strange and primitive. I had an image of the sort of toy beads my sister played with. Turns out the wampum of northeastern Indians was often made from purple clams. And why not? Those certainly had as much intrinsic worth as our bits of paper. Not to mention the digital mediums of exchange we rely on now. We all just need to agree that something has value, and "Voila!". How much purple clam do you have?