The Tree of Peace
New World Symbol of Freedom

The Tree of Peace
is a native American symbol
of powerful and timely ideas
about human relations and social order,
about the alignment of Human Law
with Spiritual Law and Natural Law

It is the ancient image of the
Six Nations Confederacy
or "Iroquois League"
North America's oldest surviving sovereign government

The Legend of The Peacemaker
an ancient oral tradition depicts the Confederacy's founding
The Peacemaker
arrives in his white stone canoe

© Marcine Quenzer

In an ancient time, the Haudenosaunee were ruled by warfare and anarchy, and people lived in fear and hunger, preyed upon by powerful warriors and tyrants.

One day, a canoe made of white stone carried a man, born of a virgin, across Onondaga Lake to announce The Good News of Peace had come, and killing and violence would end. "Peace," he said, "is the desire of the Holder of the Heavens. Peace comes when people adopt the Creator's Mind, which is Reason."

For years The Peacemaker traveled teaching the Path of Peace—that "all people love one another and live together in peace." One by one he convinced each person, village and nation to accept his teaching. Hiawatha, an Onondaga, was his spokesman.

John David Fadden

At last, all the people gathered Onondaga Lake for the first Grand Council of the United Nations. There, Peacemaker transmitted The Great Law of Peace—instructions to form a society and government based on liberty, dignity and harmony.

The White Pine—with five needles clasped as one—became symbol of Five Nations united as one Confederacy. Peacemaker uprooted a White Pine, exposing a deep cavern with a river at its bottom. He told warriors to cast weapons into this hole and the river carried the tools of war deep in the Earth.

Replanting the White Pine, The Peacemaker said, "To bury the hatchet signifies the end of war, killing and violence."
a complete, authorized account of
The Legend of
the Peacemaker

was published as:

White Roots of Peace
The Iroquois Book of Life

by Paul A. W. Wallace
Clear Light Publishers

823 Don Diego, Santa Fe, NM 87501
$12.95; ISBN 0-940666-30-8

"The Tree of Peace," Peacemaker explained, "has four white roots extending to Earth's four corners. Anyone who desires peace can follow the roots to their source and find shelter under The Great Tree."

Atop the White Pine sits Eagle-that-sees-far to be ever vigilant to sound alarm when evil threatens. The Great Peace endured for centuries before Europeans came to the New World.

But the story doesn't end there.

On June 11, 1776 Haudenosaunee "forest diplomats" attended a Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Congress President John Hancock welcomed them as "brothers", recognizing the long and friendly dialog between colonials and Haudenosaunee on freedom, law, democracy, and government.

The Onondaga chief who led the Haudenosaunee ambassadors bestowed on John Hancock the name "Karandawan", meaning "Great Tree." For decades Iroquois had counseled colonists in the Art of Union, urging them to unite.

Three weeks later, the Declaration of Independence was signed, and a new democracy was born.
see also:
The Great Law of Peace
Basic Call to Consciousness
Six Nations Flag
Message in Moscow
Roots of Economic Democracy
Claim for Land and Justice
Cheesy Cloth Payment

Thus, Tree of Peace became a symbol of an emerging United States government. White Pine became the Liberty Tree displayed on colonial flags. Eagle-that-sees-far became the American Eagle, still a symbol of American government. In the Peacemaker Legend five arrows were bundled together to represent the strength through unity. Today, on the U.S. Great Seal, the American Eagle clutches a bundle of thirteen arrows, representing the original colonies. American government was patterned after the Haudenosaunee, where all people—both women and men—are represented and control their government.
Tree of Peace Planting
Onondaga Lake, June 1, 2003
Chief Jake Swamp
Mohawk Nation

PHOTO Pam Rosati

As Tree of Peace, the White Pine is a unique symbol of government rooted in the Natural World, not human cleverness or power. Like the Old World's Christ and Mohammed, Peacemaker was a New World spiritual messenger come to fulfill a Divine Plan.

As White Pine roots in the Earth, the Great Peace expresses a view that Law and Government are expressions of natural order. To the Haudenosaunee, Peace is Law—they use the same word for both concepts. Peace is also religion—marriage of spirituality with politics, Righteousness and Justice. It's no abstract idea, but a way of life based on wisdom, graciousness and respect for Mother Earth and "all our relations."

September 17, 1987, over 200 people gathered at the Washington, DC Mall to plant a Tree of Peace, led by Leon Shenandoah, Chief of the Confederacy, and Chief Oren Lyons of Onondaga Nation. Mohawk Nation Chief Jake Swamp placed an arrowhead, symbol of the weapons of war, under the tree, explaining, "If we have feelings of war among us, we must take them out and bury them. If we have feelings of greed, we must take them out and bury them. Feelings of mistrust must be buried so we can start to create the atmosphere of peace for future generations."

Sunday, October 11, 2009