Arizona Capitol to shine with White Mountain Apache Tribe tree

The White Mountain Apache Tribe donated a blue spruce for the Arizona State Christmas Tree this year. (Photo/DFFM)

The White Mountain Apache Tribe donated a blue spruce for the Arizona State Christmas Tree this year. (Photo/DFFM)

WHITERIVER, Ariz. — The White Mountain Apache Tribe, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM), delivered the 2023 Arizona State Christmas tree for display at the State Capitol.

Tribal members along with DFFM staff hand selected the tree from the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in east Central Arizona.

The blue spruce tree species grow at about 8,000 to 9,000 feet elevations in Arizona. It was chosen for its attractive bluish color, fragrance and conical shape.

“It is an absolute honor to receive the Capitol Christmas tree from the White Mountain Apache Tribe for the first holiday season of my administration,” said Governor Katie Hobbs. “This is the first time a Tribal Nation in Arizona has gifted the tree for the executive tower, and it’s an appropriate symbol of our ever-growing partnership.”

Tribal Chairman Kasey Velasquez expressed the tribal community’s excitement about the tree’s selection.

“I am deeply honored to acknowledge the request from the Arizona Governor’s Office for a Christmas tree from our beautiful Fort Apache Indian Reservation. This gesture demonstrates the recognition of our rich culture and the spirit of giving that the holiday season represents. The White Mountain Apache Tribe gladly accepts this opportunity to share the beauty and traditions of our land with the State of Arizona and look forward to cultivating a sense of unity and goodwill during this special time.”

Crews harvested the tree Nov. 16 and delivered it to the Capitol the following day after a sendoff ceremony at the Hon-dah Casino and Resort. The official tree lighting ceremony takes place Dec. 4, at 9 a.m., in the lobby of the Executive Tower.

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