Barack Obama loses adoptive Native American father

November 28, 2012

Hartford and Mary Black Eagle adopted Barack Obama in a Native American ceremony in May 2008. (By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)

President Obama's adopted Crow Nation father has died. 

Hartford Black Eagle, 78, died at home in his sleep at Lodge Grass, Mont., the Sun Herald reports.

In May 2008, Obama became the first American presidential candidate to visit the reservation of the Crow Nation. During his trip he was adopted by Hartford and Mary Black Eagle as a member of the nation. Hartford chose the name "Awe Kooda Bilaxpak Kuxshish," or "One Who Helps People Throughout This Land."

After the ceremony, Obama described his adoptive parents as "the nicest parents you could ever want to know." He added, "I like my new name. Barack Black Eagle. That is a good name!"

The couple traveled to Washington for Obama's first inauguration, among four generations of Black Eagles who came to witness their new relative's achievement. The compact links the first family with five generations of First Americans.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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