Column: Ute Mountain Ute Tribe brings Christmas tree to Capitol

"Three weeks before the 73-foot Engleman Spruce Christmas tree was officially lit Tuesday on the U.S. Capitol lawn, it stood atop Ute Mountain in Colorado, where the Ute Native American tribe has lived for some 1500 years.

Bradley W. Hight, vice-chairman of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council, told Whispers this particular tree was chosen because it was the "tallest and most beautiful looking tree in the forest." A tree taken from a national forest has adorned the Capitol lawn for the last 50 years.

Hight says his tribe, which sees trees as a source of strength, medicine, food, and shelter, decided to bless this spruce through a special ceremony before cutting it down. "But I can't talk to you about that," he says. "It's kind of secret because it only belongs to us. The Ute tribe are the only ones who know... not even the Secret Service knows.""

Get the Story:
Washington Whispers: Capitol Christmas Tree Blessed in Secret Native American 'Sundance' Ceremony (US News & World Review 12/5)

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