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Beadmakers Hall of Fame
Unlike the Bead Researchers Hall of Fame, the nominees for the Beadmakers Hall of Fame need not be dead. They would, however, have to have been making beads professionally for a period of twenty years or so.
I thought I would begin by honoring some "legendary beadmakers".
The first members, then, are:
- Hiawatha, who introduced wampum to the Iroquois when setting up the Laws of Confederacy for them. Wampum (not Indian money) was and still is precious to these people. Their laws, treaties and deeds were spelled out in mnemonic fashion with these white and violet shell beads.
The "quest for Wampum" in Longfellow's poem is fictional. He used the name Hiawatha because he liked the sound of it. Recent evidence suggests that Hiawatha did, indeed, invent the Iroquois League about a century before Columbus stumbled onto America.
- Baba Ghor, often credited with starting the Western Indian agate bead industry.
The industry predates him by millennia, however. He was probably died fighting for Malwa against Gujarat over control of the agate stone quarry region.
Being a Muslim fighting in a Holy War, after his death he was made a martyr.
His cult was developed to counteract Hindu and Jain influences in the region.
He probably had nothing to do with beadmaking, but remains the patron saint
of the industry today.
- Osie Kwame, who really did live. He died in 1978. He was a master beadmaker and teacher. See Featured Beadmaker.
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