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LacVieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Michigan

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Richard McGeshick of the Lac Vieux conducted a blessing ceremony, sprinkling tobacco around the trunk of the U.S. Capitol Holiday Tree before it was cut in the Ottawa National Forest.

"When we take from the forest, we like to give back," he said. "We also ask that the Forest Service replant another tree after taking this one." Public Affairs Officer Lisa Klaus said other trees would be planted in exchange for the tree selected from 12 finalists last June.

The 74-foot white spruce, dubbed "Tree of Hope" will travel from the Upper Peninsula to Washington on a semi-trailer bearing U.S. flags and a banner reading, "God Bless America." It will be placed on the west lawn of the Capitol. Ottawa Forest officials and assistants harvested the tree from the lawn of the former Watersmeet ranger station which closed in 1940. Supervisor Phyllis Green said the tree was planted in the mid-1930s by Civilian Conservation Corps members.

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