Tree of Peace

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A group of Eastern White Pines (Pinus strobus)

The Tree of Peace is a symbol of peace in the Iroquois culture. The Tree of Peace is an important symbol of peace in Iroquois tradition and in the historical record of diplomacy between the Iroquois and Westerners. Weapons would be buried under a tree to seal a peace agreement. A tree might even be uprooted to create a cavity for the weapons. The replanted tree on top would become a tree of peace.[1]

A specific Eastern White Pine was the symbol of the Iroquois constitution known as the Gayanashagowa or Great Law of Peace given by The Great Peacemaker to the Iroquois people hundreds of years before the European arrival in America.[citation needed] Its characteristic bundles of five needles became the symbol of the Five Nations joined together as one. According to Iroquois tradition, the Great Law of Peace ended the ancient cycle of enmity and continuous conflict between the separate tribes and united them into the Iroquois Confederacy that made them into the most powerful force in North America until the rapid expansion of European colonization in the 18th century.

Between 1710 and 1713, the Tuscarora tribe was forced out of its homeland by white settlers and following the Tree of Peace, relocated to reside with the Oneida tribe in central New York. In 1722, they were officially incorporated into the Five Nations creating the Six Nations.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parker, AC (1912). "Certain Iroquois Tree Myths and Symbols". American Anthropologist 14: 608–20. doi:10.1525/aa.1912.14.4.02a00040. JSTOR 659833.