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Peace Tree Ceremony

2018 Peace Tree Ceremony

Speaker during the 2018 ceremony stands behind a podium and in front of a large projection of an indigenous family with father, mother and baby.

The Native American Studies Program at West Virginia University welcomes the public to its 26th anniversary of the Peace Tree Ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 11:30 a.m. at the Peace Tree, located between Martin and Elizabeth Moore halls. The Mountainlair ballrooms will serve as a rain location for the ceremony.

At the ceremony, there will be music and a symbolic burying of the weapons of war. A golden eagle from the Deep Creek (Maryland) State Park Discovery Center will represent the eagle the Peacemaker placed as a sentry at the top of the original tree. In addition, all those in attendance will be invited to add a prayer tie, with any good intention they choose, on the tree.

“It is one day to focus as a community on what we can all do to strive for peace and to be peaceful people,” Brown said.

This year’s guest of honor is Sarah Kastelic, executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, an organization that seeks to protect Native American children and preserve families. She is Alutiiq and a member of the Alaska Native Village of Ouzinkie, a subsistence community in northeastern Kodiak Island whose presence dates back at least 9,000 years.

Kastelic has led the National Congress of American Indians welfare reform program and was the founding director of NCAI’s Policy Research Center. She is a national award-winning leader who has been called “a transformational leader working to further research policy that empowers American Indian and Alaska Native communities.”

Kastelic’s evening presentation, “Protecting Children, Preserving Families: Lessons from the Indian Child Welfare Act,” will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Mountainlair ballroom. A welcome reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. and will include a display of books by Native American authors.

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