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  • Writer's pictureKATYA MILLER

Lady Freedom & The Shawnee - Capitol Christmas Tree

The Lady of Freedom can be seen above in the cold blue skies of December. She watches on with her eagle on-high while the new Capitol Christmas Tree stands quietly below. This fine tree arrived November 17, 2023 from its home in the Greenbrier Ranger District in West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest.

For some, the tall evergreen echos the Great White Pine, symbol of the Great Law of Peace; that which inspired our democracy and was brought forth by the Iroquois Confederacy, First Nation people of the Northeast. Relationships abound for those with eyes to see. 

Every year, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is responsible for finding a Christmas Tree for the grounds. Since 1970, they have had a tradition with the United States Forest Service that they are provided a tree for the Christmas holidays. This year of 2023, a beautiful 63 foot Norway Spruce Tree was chosen and something quite out of the ordinary occurred….

A special name was bestowed upon the tree by the Shawnee First Nation People from their own language. The noble evergreen was given the name “wa’feem’tekwi”— pronounced as “wa thame tech we”— which translates to “bright tree” in English.

“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 (was) harvested from Monongahela National Forest this holiday season.”

The Shawnee are part of an ancient Algonquian language that was spoken by the original people (Nacotchtank, or Anacostans) of the city of Washington area making “wa thame tech we” in perfect and peaceful resonance with the land. May she shine bright for many!

Link to the full article is in credits.


Kris Farquhar


Nancy Drew

Link for article: Shawnee Tribe Names 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

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