ELKINS, WV (WVNS) — Right before the holiday season truly starts, a tree is selected to be the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and this year West Virginia has the honor!

Since 1970 the Forest Service has selected a tree harvest from a national forest to be displayed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. For 2023, a tree from West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest was selected; a 63 foot Norway spruce located in Randolph County. From ornament-making to special celebrations, the tree will be filling many with joy for the holiday season in our nation’s capital.

This alone is a massive honor, but the leaders of the Shawnee Tribe also gave their own special honoring. The Shawnee Tribe has declared the name of the tree to be used from West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest will be “wa’feem’tekwi” pronounced “wa thame tech we” meaning “bright tree” in the Shawnee language. 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.

“We are grateful for the strong relationship the Eastern Region of the Forest Service has with the Shawnee Tribe and we deeply appreciate the name they have bestowed on the tree that will be harvested from Monongahela National Forest this holiday season.”

Regional Forester Gina Owens

For more information on the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree visit their website. For more information on the Shawnee language, visit here.