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On the Mall, 'A Feast for the Eyes'

Her husband smiled as the stranger walked away. "A lot of people are wishing us luck on our sovereignty and our land-claim rights," he said.

-- Susan Levine

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)

A Lesson Come Alive

The leather fringes, the conch shells and the pounding drums paraded past an orderly line of second-graders from Georgetown Day School.

Soon they would be studying Native Americans in school. But here was the real thing: the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the Luna son Peru and the State Council on Hawaiian Heritage.

Chief Lionel Bell, 40, of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming stepped toward them, his huge feather headdress catching every child's eye.

Eleanor Barker, 8, raised her face and fixed Bell with a serious stare. "Were your ancestors Indians?" she asked.

"Yes," Bell replied, smiling and shaking her hand. "I'm a chief, and there are more chiefs coming behind me. We always tell our kids you're our greatest resource. We do what we do for our children."

-- Maureen Fan

An Opportunity to Learn

There was the man who flashed an eagle's claw, attached to the end of a stick. There were Indians from Hawaii. Another dignitary wore a mirror on his headband.

"Oh, look at that guy with the axes," one student said. "They're warriors."

For the 8- and 9-year-olds from St. Mary's School in Rockville, their last-minute field trip to the Mall was a moving lesson, in all ways.

Suddenly, there was a commotion near the fence. A student tugged at the arm of Amanda Boglarski, the fourth-grade teacher. It was urgent.

"The chief wants to meet you," the girl said.

-- Manny Fernandez

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