White Pine Peace Tree
Centuries before Canada was born, many first nations came together to bury their weapons under what was, thereafter, known as the Peace Tree. It embodied the strong bonds of land and water, as well as an agreement to work towards and maintain peace. From its location in Asinabka, now often referred to as Victoria Island in Ottawa, the original Peace Tree witnessed hundreds of years of change before its passing. As foretold by the Rainbow Warrior, a time would come for pledging once more to build peace, nation to nation.
On June 26, 2015, the original White Pine Peace Tree, was ceremonially welcomed back by the planting of a new young pine - young, yet infused with sacred responsibility. Peace.
The rebirthing once more took place in a Sacred Ceremony with many gathered from Ontario and Quebec to honour the symbol of both the Peace Tree and the Goose. The peace tree symbolizes that we are living as the fruit of the Sacred Tree of Life, to change and to become part of the solution to humanity’s pollution. We are all called to work together, thereby also honouring the symbol of the Goose: team work, co-operation, collaborative effort to always put nature first in all our decisions.
Houston, Texas is an example of how replacing farmlands and creeks with cement is now devastating their city and we, in Ottawa/Gatineau, must see this as exactly what the late Grandfather William Commanda could see happening if the land buried under E. B. Eddy cement was not returned to its natural state: with herbs, and trees, and shrubs, and flowing water, to heal this sacred, spiritual meeting place of his ancient peoples.
Green space, returned to these three small islands of the magnificent Chaudière Falls in the heart of Canadian democracy, must now be seen as an urgent call to listen to the voices of wisdom of these ancient Elders.
The “Free the Falls” ad hoc group has been working tirelessly to support free the falls and free ourselves so that, in awakening, humanity will see, as the Dalai Lama said, we are all in the same boat and it is time we explore and work together with the wisdom of the Elders as one human family.
June 20, 2017 brought another ceremonial gathering before the tiny, yet immeasurably vast, Peace Tree. This time, it was to honour the truth that all religious spaces for worship are sacred, including Algonquin spiritual lands. This time, it took the form of a Prayer Circle called by Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont with inter-faith leaders, who had had their sacred space desecrated. Represented were, Iman Samy Metwally, Rev. Barbra Fraught, Elise Mennie of Parkdale United Church representing Rev. Anthony Baily, Daniel Stringer, Maureen Stark and myself, Judith Matheson. It was my privilege to read Rabbi Anna Maranta’s profound statement on behalf of herself and Rabbi Bulka.
Yet another tradition, under the banner “Faith in Solidarity is Peace,” is a movement of faith leaders, growing every year, who gather on Aboriginal Day, June 23.
Dr. Peter Stockdale, an integral Peace Leader in the National Capital Area, works with me, through Facebook, to have conversations with leaders from all walks of life.
I am also a member of the Monthly Christian Muslim dialogue group. Love and walking in solidarity, shoulder to shoulder in faith, is peace.
This is what growing in real, genuine, authentic, spiritual relationship is all about in these times of awakening. It is the ultimate MEDICINE. We are the ones we have been waiting to meet. In changing ourselves, loving ourselves, we are also as One Universal humanity making a difference by our choices.
It is time now to walk gently with ourselves, each other and especially with Mother Earth herself!
And so I see that faith in love is the real cause of service for us all to make a difference for being here; to walk and to serve in solidarity against any form of hate.
At humanity’s greatest time of chaos, this is our opportunity to heal and to work together in one cause. Peace.
By: Judith Anne King Matheson, Director (OWL) Outaouais Wellness Learning Centre, Co-Founder Heart + Soul Light Centre, as told to Evelyn Voigt.