On Sunday, October 11, 2020 Sharon Day, Ojibwe, led a community gathering on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol to raise a Tree of Peace, Tree of Life, Tree for the Future.
The inspiration to create the Tree of Peace, Tree of Life, Tree for the Future emerged after the murder of George Floyd. Day is a life-long activist but due to COVID-19, she needed to find a way to be involved while also protecting her health. She knew many elders and others with compromised immune systems who felt powerless as they watched youth march in the streets. By creating a Tree of Peace, Tree of Life, Tree for the Future, she wanted to give many people a way to express their most cherished hopes and deepest love with the future.
“At first making each leaf felt like making a political protest sign,” recounts Day. “But as I got deeper into the project I realized the process was making me focus on my love and hope. People are very reactive right now. These leaves are different. They are our most precious messages sent to the future. In the very act of making the leaf, we make that truth and love real right now.”
People from all over the United States and Canada have sent in homemade leaves in response to Day’s invitation. They will be incorporated into a large sculpture made with driftwood which they will erect at the State Capitol steps.
The twelve foot tall sculpture will be raised at 9 am on October 11, 2020. From 10:00-10:30 people can make their own leaves or write on blank leaves that were already created. After a short program at 10:30 the sculpture will be taken down and moved to a permanent home.
Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan will offer opening remarks and will be followed by Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein and Senator Patricia Torres Ray. Other performers will include One Voice Mixed Chorus, Tom LeBlanc and Ben Weaver, Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble, Oshki Gishiik Women Singers, and Sara Thomsen.
Ms. Day explains, “We will present these messages to the people. We will do this because we love our children, we wish for our children’s children to live a life where they can smell the flowers, put their feet into clean rivers, breathe air that is life giving, and live each day without fear of the police, pandemics, and government’s run amuck.
Sharon M. Day, Ojibwe is enrolled in the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe. She is a second degree M’dewin. She has served as the Executive Director of Indigenous Peoples Task Force since 1990. Ms. Day is also a grandmother, artist, musician, and writer. This event is co-sponsored by the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, Nibi Walk, and Pangea World Theater.