The Native American-European encounter created a multitude of opportunities for understanding and misunderstanding. Linguistic and cultural barriers contributed to the complexity of cross-cultural understanding. In the ca.>e of tubular shell beads known today as wampum, Europeans sought a suitable term to describe the unfamiliar cultural goods that served Native people in ways unfamiliar to Europeans. The French, Dutch, and English experimented with diverse terms-both Native and European-eventually settling on porcelaine, sewant, and wampum, respectively. In doing so, they drew on their linguistic and cultural backgrounds while coming to terms with the Native American languages they encountered. A study of these cross-cultural interactions reveals the nuances and the limits of European understanding, and it demonstrates the cultural linguistic legacy of European colonization.
Otto, Paul, ""This is that which . .. they call Wampum" Europeans Coming to Terms with Native Shell Beads" (2017). Faculty Publications - Department of History and Politics. 77.