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Catcuce Micco Tiger from Cherokee, N.C. selected as 2022 Youth Tree Lighter

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree-also known as The People’s Tree will be lit on Tuesday November 29

Asheville, NC November 23, 2022When Ruby, the 78-foot-tall red spruce from the Pisgah National Forest, is lit on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on November 29, 4th grader Catcuce Micco Tiger will do the honors.

Catcuce Micco Tiger (Coche) is the son of Katie and Catcuce Tiger. He is nine years old and is a citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), located in Cherokee, NC. He has a six-year-old brother named Sha-li-gu-gi, which means snapping turtle in Cherokee.

It is an honor to have Coche as the youth tree lighter for he provides a meaningful representation of the connection between the ancestral stewardship of these lands by the Cherokee people and the future stewardship of these lands by the generations to come.

Coche also has ancestry from the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He gets his name from his dad, which is a Seminole name. Catcuce means ‘Little Tiger’, Micco means ‘Leader/Chief’ in the Creek language.

Coche attends New Kituwah Academy language immersion school, where he learns to read, write, and speak the Cherokee language. His favorite subjects are Cherokee, Math, and Science. Coche enjoys playing baseball, soccer, fishing, and playing outside. He also enjoys participating in his traditional Cherokee ceremonies.

Why is the environment important to Cherokee culture?

Coche: “Cherokee culture is very important to me. I attend New Kituwah Academy, where I am learning to read, write and speak the Cherokee language. I am also a member of the Raven Rock stomp grounds in the Big Cove community. I love stomp dance because it is what our ancestors once did to pray and show appreciation for everything we have. We go to stomp to help renew ourselves and help the earth renew herself. So, we need a clean and healthy environment to honor what the creator has given us.

Our environment is so important because my ancestors lived on this land, and I want to take care of it like they did. Also, the animals live in the environment, and I want to take care of them because they are related to me.”

Why do you want to be the youth tree lighter?

Coche: “I want to go to Washington, D.C. to light the tree so I can represent the Tribe and my community and so everyone can have a good year. I also want to see where the president lives and maybe meet him.”

Coche will share The Cherokee Legend of the Evergreen Trees and his Cherokee introduction during various events in Washington, D.C.

The following is his introduction:


Hello everyone, I am glad we all are here. My name is Catcuce, I am a gi-du-wa person, and I am nine years old. I am in the 4th grade at New Kituwah Academy. I am from North Carolina. My home is in Birdtown (Tsi-sgwo-hi) community. My parents’ names are Katie and Catcuce. My brother’s name is Sha-li-gu-gi.

About the U.S. Captiol Christmas Tree

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree—also known as “The People’s Tree” reflecting the nickname for the U.S. House of Representatives, the People’s House—adorns the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and is selected each year from a different national forest since 1970. This is the third time the National Forests in North Carolina will provide the tree, having previously provided the tree in 1998 and 1974.

To follow along with the festivities and view the lighting follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @uscapitolchristmastree and visit


  1. Kenneth Scott Taylor Kenneth Scott Taylor November 30, 2022

    Love that a young native American not only got to light the national Christmas tree but had written a remarkable story about how trees that are evergreen got to keep their leaves all year long. It shows us how native Americans think and appreciate the world around them. Well done Catcuce Micco Tiger (Coche)!

  2. Pete Stewart Pete Stewart December 1, 2022

    Outstanding !

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