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Peace Tree Ceremony

The special commemoration was held in person and online

On Tuesday, WVU welcomed Mervyn L. Tano, president of the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management, as special guest for the annual Peace Tree Commemoration. This year’s event was held in person for a limited crowd, as well as online.

Along with his position as president of the law and policy research institution, Tano is an attorney  and has worked with Indian tribes and organizations for over 40 years. He’s also had stints as the director of planning and budget at the Administration for Native Americans and as general counsel and director of environmental programs at the Council of Energy Resource Tribes.

He is adjunct faculty at the Haskell Indian Nations University and has written and taught extensively on indigenous peoples’ law and policy issues related to climate, risk, cultural resources, heritage management, environmental justice, food and agriculture, and science and technology policy.

American Kestrel
Katie Fallon holds an American Kestrel
during WVU’s Peace Tree Commemoration.

This is the 29th anniversary of the planting of WVU’s first peace tree by Chief Leon Shenandoah, Tadodaho of the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy and Chippewa Chief Robert TallTree.

“Every year, the WVU Peace Tree ceremony offers the community a time to reflect on the lessons of the Peacemaker, highlighting the importance of unity and agreeing we are stronger together,” said Bonnie Brown, coordinator of the Native American Studies Program. “The sovereign nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy demonstrate that it’s possible to coexist with mutual respect and inclusive dialogue.”

The ceremony  included traditional hand drum songs and a symbolic burying of the weapons of war. A raptor from the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia   symbolized the eagle the Peacemaker placed as a sentry at the top of the original tree at Onondaga. In addition, all those attending in person could add a prayer tie, with any good intention they chose, on the Peace Tree, which is located between Martin and E. Moore Halls on the downtown campus.

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