Tree of Peace Quilt. Sheree "Peachy" Bonaparte ( Mohawk), made this Tree of Peace Quilt (1991-92, 85 x 62.5) for the annual Mohawk Freedom School Quilt Auction as a call to stop the violence on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation. In the purple border band, quilted figures holding hands represent the Chiefs of the Iroquois Confederacy, who, united, will maintain the strength of their nations. Bonaparte explained: "In the beginning of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the tree of peace was uprooted and the weapons and words of war were thrown into the hole and buried so that people could live in peace. During the time I was working on the quilt, automatic weapons were heard so frequently on the river that people no longer reacted to the horrible noise. And the words that were being used so often had lost the respect and love our people had for each other. So, when I started sewing the weapons of war beneath the tree, I stitched in the war club, but that didn't seem quite enough. The war club was too distant to the reality we were living. So I decided to sew an AK-47. I was real nervous about doing it. It was almost sacrilegious to mess with a traditional symbol. My heart raced while I stitched. To calm down, I stitched in the Three Sisters, the corn, beans, and squash, at the base of the tree, They are the sustainers of the life of our people."
Collection of Michigan State University Museum. Courtesy of the