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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Lazore

Start of the Confederacy Painting Donated to Onondaga Nation School

Updated: Apr 2

In 2013 Brandon donated a very important painting to the Onondaga National School. The painting signified the formation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy which Brandon presented to the children and staff during an assembly in the school’s main foyer. His purpose for donating to the school was so the children could see an image of their cultural heritage celebrated. 



Background of the Painting

The Haudenosaunee like many indigenous cultures has an oral history tradition, the retelling of the story of the confederacy’s foundation takes days to share. Brandon used symbolism and his artistic ability to visually tell the story in his painting to encourage the students and inspire them to use art as a form of expression and storytelling. 



Symbolism in the Start of the Confederacy

Brandon incorporated symbolism into his painting to tell the story of the founding of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Starting on the left, you can see the Prophesy Wampum Belt which represents the coming of the peacemaker. The line on top represents the sky world descends to Turtle Island our Mother Earth. The figure is the Peacemaker and the heart represents the message of peace that he brings. The diamond below the Peacemaker represents the message of peace spreading in all four directions.


On the right, you see Tadadaho’s Wampum Belt. Visually you can see the Tree of Peace in the background with the 14 chiefs of the Onondaga Nation represented as diamonds in the middle. The belt symbolizes Tadadaho as the representative of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.



In the middle of the painting, the five nations gathered together to represent the Confederacy uniting and ending the waring between each nation. Behind the people in the middle of the painting stands the Tree of Peace. In the story, the peacemaker uproots the trees, and the warriors bury their weapons to cease the fighting. The roots of the Tree of Peace trap all the weapons underneath and spread in all directions. It's said that people who accept the message of peace could follow the white roots of the tree and sit at the council fire amongst the Haudenosaunee.  Atop the tree sits the eagle that can see far and warns of any potential danger.




Summary

It took many years to find peace between the warring nations, but it was achieved with dedicated work from all parties involved. This painting celebrates that important moment in Haudenosaunee history. The visual language found throughout the painting shares a powerful message of unity and peace strengthened by the Great Law. Brandon hopes that sharing this story can inspire students to find pride in their cultural heritage and seek ways to find peace and togetherness in their school, community, and beyond.  

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