ELKINS, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Monongahela National Forest announced Friday that the 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree has been named “wa’feem’tekwi” by the Shawnee Tribe.
The name means “bright tree” in the Shawnee language and is pronounced phonetically “wa thame tech we”.
“We are grateful for the strong relationship the Eastern Region of the Forest Service has with the Shawnee Tribe,” said Regional Forester Gina Owens. “And we deeply appreciate the name they have bestowed on the tree that will be harvested from Monongahela National Forest this holiday season.”
The tribe has also contributed handmade ornaments and messaging for the educational exhibit that will tour with the tree in November.
After the holidays, the Shawnee Tribe will use wood from the tree at their ceremonial grounds in White Oak, Oklahoma.
The Forest Service invited the Shawnee Tribe to name the tree as part of the ongoing celebration of the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree initiative and to honor the agency’s unique nation-to-nation relationship with the Shawnee Tribe.
“On behalf of Monongahela National Forest, I’d like to thank the Shawnee Tribe for naming this special tree. Names are important and “wa’feem’tekwi” reminds us of our connection to the Shawnee Tribe and the importance of our mutual relationship,” said Shawn Cochran, forest supervisor for Monongahela National Forest.
“This is the third time Monongahela National Forest has provided the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree from West Virginia.”
Since 1970 the Forest Service has been providing a tree harvested from a national forest to serve as the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.