This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree is coming from the White River National Forest in the Rocky Mountain Region and will be harvested at a private ceremony today, Nov. 2. Forest Service employees and the non-profit partner Choose Outdoors are hard at work planning the public tree celebration taking place on Nov. 3.
This year’s celebration will include Ute Tribe representatives from Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.
In Meeker, Colo., three respected tribal elders will honor the tree before it is harvested. Tribal elected officials will also participate in the sacred ceremony held to recognize the tree’s life.
The 73-foot Engleman Spruce will then embark on a 5,000 mile, three-week journey across the nation before arriving in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 26. It will travel on a custom-decorated Mack truck driven a portion of the trip by former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
The Forest Service and Ute Tribes are honored to partner together to help the nation celebrate the holidays with this gift from the state of Colorado. The tribes would like to convey the following to the people of the United States:
- The Tree is on Ute aboriginal lands shared by other migrating tribes who used the forest.
- The Tree is a sentinel, a landmark in the forest.
- The Tree is strength to the Ute people.
- The Tree has provided medicine and food.
- The Tree has given wood for fire and shelter from the night.
- The Tree has stood proudly for the Ute people and their lifeway.