Photo of Ever-Growing Tree wampum belt

‘Ever-Growing Tree’ Friendship Belt

The First Nations Technical Institute gave the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council a friendship belt in September. The gift was a token of appreciation for the Council’s work to advance Indigenous post-secondary education.

Featured in the belt is a symbolic ever-lasting tree, which represents the Tree of the Great Peace that is used to explain the Great Law of Peace.

“This belt represents the coming together of many nations to form a strong alliance of peace,” said Suzanne Brant, president of FNTI. “I feel it is significant to the work IAESC is doing.”

A description of the Tree of the Great Peace was included with the gift:

“The pine tree grows high with its white roots spreading out in four directions. The Great White Roots represent peace and strength. Any nation who wishes to follow the great white roots of peace can trace them back to the tree and reside under the Great Laws of Peace. The tree top reaches towards the Spirit World so that all nations may see it.

“The white pine tree was chosen by the Peacemaker as a symbol of the unity of the nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Its needles, which always grow in clusters of five, are symbolic of the uniting of the founding five nations.

“Under this tree the Peacemaker placed a general fire to burn forever at Onondaga, the Council Place of the Five Nations. It was to protect the Council and to keep the eyes of the fifty leaders free from dust or harmful thoughts for “clear” vision, so they shall always work for the benefit of the people.

“An eagle, said to be a messenger to the Creator and the protector of peace is placed at the top as it can see afar. If the eagle sees any danger threatening, it will at once warn the people.”

(NOTE: Six Nations Polytechnic also gifted the Council a friendship belt and it will be featured in the near future.)

Ever-Growing Tree wampum belt