WASHINGTON—For the first time ever, an American Indian has blessed the soon-to-be-lit Christmas tree at the United States Capitol.
“The Capitol Christmas tree is a U.S. yuletide tradition, but this is the first year the tree was blessed by a Native American,” according to a recent article at Discovery.com. “On November 5, an elder from the Tuolumne Band of Me-wuk tribe blessed the tree shortly before it was harvested and loaded on a flatbed truck.”
“The Tuolumne Band of the Me-wuk Indians did our blessing—they do it before the sun comes over the mountain as is their tradition,” Maria Benech, an organizer with the Capitol Christmas Tree project, told radio station WAMA 88.5. “It was an amazingly moving ceremony they sang and blessed the tree and blessed the people there on site and blessed our safe journey for the tree.”
The 65-foot tall Capitol Christmas tree, a white fir harvested from the Stanislaus National Forest in California, is expected to become one of the most photographed Christmas trees in the nation this year. It will ultimately stand outside the U.S. Capitol on the National Mall, decorated with thousands of lights.
The tree’s route can be followed online as it progresses from California to the nation’s capital here.
Speaker of the House John Boehner is scheduled to light the tree on December 6, along with Johnny Crawford, a 7-year-old from Sonora, California, whose name was drawn for the event.
Here the American Indian blessing can be heard over the sounds of the chainsaw.