Fascinating. Michael Paulson's blog, Articles of Faith, has this story of a Vermont museum featuring a display of "Wampum belts of faith," with a Jesuit connection: "Two 17th century beaded wampum belts made by Native Americans in New England for French Jesuit missionaries as expressions of Catholic faith have been shipped from a cathedral in France to a museum in Vermont where they are now on display. Alexis Berthier, the spokeswoman for the Consulate General of France in Boston said the belts were given to the missionaries "as a sign of friendship" and that "they also signaled the conversion of some of these Native American people." Here's the story on Paulson's blog. (Though I admit to be a little baffled by the comment about the "Jesuits at Chartres").
The above inscription, according to Paulson, can be translated as: "From the Hurons to the Virgin about to give birth."
If you want to know more about the complex story of the Jesuits and their encounters with the native peoples of North America, a few books are helpful. Jean de Brebeuf, by Joseph P. Donnelly, S.J., and Saint Among the Hurons by Francis X. Talbot, S.J., two favorites, as well as the sketches of the Jesuits called the "North American Martyrs" in Joseph Tylenda, S.J.'s Jesuit Saints and Martyrs are useful in understanding this complicated history, and are inspirational as well. Also, in researching a new book on Ignatian spirituality, I came upon a fine collection of some the Jesuit "relations" or letters to superiors, from that time. This group of letters is one of the main historical sources not only for those interested in understanding saints like Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brebeuf, and their companions, but also for historians and ethnographers interested in understanding the lives of the native peoples of the time. The entire series runs many volumes, but this short collection is called Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents.