The first day of spring heralded the unveiling of the first Lego wampum belt at the Nipissing/Canadore College Campus in North Bay, Ontario, Canada, reported Anishinabek News.
The Lego belt contains 850 pieces and is a replica of the Treaty of Niagara Covenant Chain Wampum Belt. It was created and designed by 8-year-old Alex Hebert, citizen of Dokis First Nation.
“It took five hours to make to scale the belt and fit the base plates,” the Grade 2 student who attends White Woods Public School in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, told Anishinabek News. “When I figured out how many of the purple and white bricks we needed, my mom ordered them from Lego. It took me another four hours to build the belt.”
Many see Alex’s creation as a way to share treaty information with students his age. Participants at the Maadhookiiwin (“Sharing”) symposium held March 20-21 feel there is a need for a treaty learning center.
Alex Hebert works on putting the wampum belt together.
“We were looking for inventive ideas about how to create greater awareness among Ontario residents about the Treaty Relationship that made Canada possible,” Maurice Switzer, Director of Communications for Union of Ontario Indians/Anishinabek Nation, who emceed the symposium at the Nipissing-Canadore Learning Library, said. He also told Anishinabek News that he’s never shown this belt to anyone who didn’t understand its meaning of “friendship, peace—sharing.” The central image is of two people holding hands.
During this process, Alex learned that the purple Quahog shells used in wampum belts are scarcer than the white, which correlated to his experience with the Legos.
“The purple Lego bricks only come in 1×1 and 1×2 sizes so you have to use more of them,” Alex told Anishinabek News. ���I’ll have to show Lego what I did and get them to make bigger purple bricks.”
That’s not all Alex learned—he learned that the Treaty of Niagara will be 250 this July and how important treaties remain today.
“I now know about the Crown and broken promises,” Alex told Anishinabek News.