The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada raised awareness of the brutalities committed for generations at residential schools and the continued harm this abuse has caused to Indigenous cultures, communities, families and individuals.

As part of Ontario’s journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, we are collecting hopes and ideas from people across the province about what reconciliation looks like to them. You can share your ideas on a Reconciliation Tree that will travel to different communities across the province. You can also participate online.

How to participate

To participate:

  1. Complete the sentence, “My hope for reconciliation is…”

You can also share your hopes and photos of the tree on social media. Join the conversation by using #ReconciliationTree

  • 113 digital hopes
  • 605 in-person hopes


The Reconciliation Tree was created by Donald Chretien, an Ojibwe artist from Nipissing First Nation. The sculpture is inspired by Chretien’s original painting, the Tree of Life, which was selected with the artist’s permission to illustrate The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

In many Indigenous cultures, trees are important symbols of values, spiritual beliefs, traditions and hope for the future. For example:

  • a cedar tree can represent cleansing
  • a birch can represent truth
  • an elm can represent wisdom
  • a white pine can represent unity and peace among leaders, peoples and nations

Learn more at

Artist Profile

Just as the Elder Tree of Life struggled to surpass its obstacles, so shall we grow and prosper despite adversity. Donald Chretien, artist and sculptor

Donald Chretien, of the Ojibwe Nation, is originally from Nipissing First Nation. His career as an artist has spanned 30 years. He began his work in commercial illustration, but in 2004 he became interested in learning about his Ojibwa heritage. The result of this awakening is a deep commitment to his community and spirituality. He travels to schools as part of the Aboriginal Artists in Schools project that is sponsored by the Ontario Arts Council.

Chretian’s installations include a massive 80-foot installation piece for the Vancouver Olympics titled ‘Mother, Friend, Small Bird,’ which is on permanent display in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum. In March 2016, ten of his original pieces were purchased by the Archives of Ontario and his work is also exhibited on several sites across Turtle Island.

Chretien’s original painting, Tree of Life, was selected with the artist’s permission to illustrate The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples outlining Ontario’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report and its journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Follow the tree

To follow the tree online visit