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Festival of Trees lights up holiday season 12-3-16

Joseph V. Sowmick - December 06, 2016

Robert Juckniess, Migizi Chief Executive Officer informs there were 36 donated and decorated Christmas Trees on display top accentuate the festive holiday atmosphere. “This special event was preceded with an array of holiday music and a special visit from our Waterpark mascot Gizi.  Many Tribal departments and local businesses helped in this charitable effort, for which we are very thankful,” Juckniess said. “Chief Cloutier presided over the lighting ceremony with remarks about the importance of community and charity during this holiday season.  Bonnie Sprague, general manager of SEPWH, also thanked all of the people who participated in the preparations for the event.”

William Johnson, Tribal Elder and Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways Curator, said it was a joy to see the hundreds of community members and guests who attended the first annual Festival of Trees Lighting Ceremony.


Johnson mentioned it was an honor and privilege to be a part of the ceremony and to offer the following prayer: 

“Heavenly Father, we thank you for this beautiful time together. You are always with us and we are grateful for your love. As we greet the Christmas Holiday Season let us not forget to be thankful for all of your blessings. Your spirit will help us to appreciate our good fortune and to comfort and serve those less fortunate. We pray that you will bless our Festival of Trees and lighting ceremony. Bless those that have worked so hard to make this event a wondrous occasion for all. We are hopeful to experience this moment through the innocent eyes of your children. May the magic of Christmas return for us. Let the light of your love shine brighter for all of us tonight. It is our desire to honor You and Christ the Lord. May we never fail in our efforts to do so. Please bless our Tribal Chief Frank Cloutier, our Tribal Council and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. We are your humble servants and we will do our best to bring peace into the New Year. Amen.”

The ceremony was followed by food, hot cocoa and cider with holiday music provided by the Mount Pleasant High School Brass Chamber Orchestra.

“We look forward to growing this event next year as a new tradition for the Tribe,” Juckniess said. “These trees that have been decorated by Tribal departments and local businesses will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to the Saginaw Chippewa Residential Treatment Center.”


The silent auction began immediately following the festival tree lighting and will conclude on Dec. 17. The most creative tree will receive a plaque and the winner will be notified on Dec. 19 along with the other winning bidders. The trees are now available for your bids and can be viewed at the Soaring Eagle Waterpark & Hotel.


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