Wampum Jewelry and Quahog Pie

Wampum Jewelry

Wampum Jewelry

Paulla Dove Jennings said her mother Eleanor’s chowder was delicious, and that she also used to make the best quahog pie. Paulla’s sister Dawn Dove added, “It’s pretty easy. You make a chowder that is not quite as thin, with not as much liquid in it, and you make a top crust, and put it in a casserole dish. It is really good.”

“My father had a walk-in refrigerator in the garage,” Paulla said, “and he would sit out there opening the fresh quahogs. He’d open three and eat the fourth and if you were standing there, you’d get one, too. And they were delicious! You didn’t need hot sauce, lemon or anything. Just the juice from the clams and the water from the ocean made them taste crisp and fresh. And of course we used the quahog shells to make wampum.”

Inside the Tomaquag Museum, Jennings pointed to a strand of wampum beads dated 4,000 years ago. “The creator is so wise,” she said. “They give us something to eat, something to drink, and then something to bead from. We use that shell to make beautiful beadwork, an adornment, to make a gift, to tell a story. It’s all right there.”

The elder Lopez designs and creates wampum jewelry and other adornments and arts, and she agrees. “Each side (of the quahog shell) matches exactly and that’s how I can make earrings in pairs. It takes a lot of time to make jewelry.”

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