“Thousands of years ago, the people were at war with each other and there was great bloodshed. The Creator was saddened by their actions. The Creator sent a messenger to the people referred to as the Peacemaker. The Peacemaker carried with him the powerful words of peace to the five nations. He had a vision of a Great White Pine reaching into the sky; beneath the pine, the weapons of war were buried and four white roots extended in all four directions to the corners of the Earth. Those who followed the roots at the base of the Great White Pine found shelter beneath its branches. At the top, the eagle alerts the people of the approaching danger.”
The Great White Pine is found throughout historical and contemporary Haudenosaunee culture, also often depicted on the back of a giant snapping turtle to portray the Creation Story of the Haudenosaunee. The eastern white pine is generally considered to be the “Great White Pine” in this formative story. The eastern white pine is the largest native conifer in Haudenosaunee territory, whose aboriginal range nearly mirrors that of the tree. The geographical territory reaches from the southern Appalachian Mountains into the upper Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Valley. White Pine is the only five needled tree in New York State and has been used by generations of storytellers to illustrate the “bundling” of the five nations, further depicting the original five tribes.
The “Iroquois”, also known as the Six Nations Confederacy, is the oldest surviving sovereign government in North America. These indigenous people are also referred to as the “Hau de no sau nee” in their native tongue, meaning People of the Long House. The six nations include the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas—later, the Tuscaroras who were also forced out of their homelands, became the six tribe.
To the Haudenosaunee, Peace is Law—the same word is used for both concepts. Peace also signifies a marriage of spirituality with politics, righteousness, and justice. This represents a way of life based on wisdom, graciousness, and respect for Mother Earth and all its relations.
In honor of the Great Peace and to further facilitate a supportive and enriching environment for everyone at the college, the MCC Club of the Indigenous People of the Americas, with support from the Diversity Council, invite the college community to a planting of the Eastern White Pine Tree of Peace on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 3 p.m. in the courtyard between Building 11 and Building 7, behind our Veteran’s Memorial. It is with great hope that this planting be a constant reminder of peace for all people.
Please Note: A commemorative plaque will be installed later in the year during Native American month in November.