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On the Mall, 'A Feast for the Eyes'

"If he'd said he was from Southeast Alaska, I'd have known they were Tlingit and I wouldn't have said camai," Andrade later explained to an observer. "We have to know our historical background. This is how we find our friends, how we tell where people are from, by their dress or their names."

Only the man with the ponytail wasn't Inupiat.


Participants in the Native Nations Procession take a moment to express themselves from the steps of the National Gallery of Art. (Carol Guzy -- The Washington Post)

He was Ossie Kairaiuak, 35, a Yup'ik Eskimo and a member of the musical group Pamyua (pronounced BUM-yo-ah), which performs northern indigenous music with doo-wop and street-corner calypso influences. The group has learned many of the six major native languages and 200 dialects in Alaska.

"We're a lot more than most people think," Kairaiuak said.

-- Maureen Fan

Together, as Foretold

There is an Indian proverb, Corie Adakai was saying. When the condor from the south and the eagle from the north come together, "then the Indian people will come together, too."

Though no birds circled overhead at Fourth Street and Jefferson Drive, which Adakai and her husband had claimed hours earlier, as Choctaw followed Pomo followed Cherokee, the proverb seemed fitting.

"It makes my heart happy to see this unity," Adakai said.

"A chance to get our cultures, traditions, ceremonies, songs together," Frank Adakai added.

She is Chippewa, he Navajo. Together, the couple run wellness and healing conferences in Albuquerque, where they live, and across the country.

Nothing could have kept them away. "If I had to walk, I would have been here," she said.

-- Susan Levine

An Apache Blessing

A man in a black hood, peepholes for eyes, approached a baby stroller.

He wielded two wooden sticks. His chest was painted with white stripes. Bells on his hips shook. A headdress made him appear taller. Drums pounded behind him. The man touched the sticks to the baby's feet, the baby's knees, the baby's head.


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