The Crow family and their adopted son... Obama

(Seattle Times) Crow family to see adopted son sworn in: A Native American spiritual healer and his wife, who adopted Barack Obama in a traditional Crow ceremony in May, are in Washington to attend today's inaugural. Hartford Black Eagle doesn't see his role in today's inauguration in terms of good fortune. He sees something sacred.

He and Mary, his wife of 57 years, were whisked from their Montana home to the Capitol for the swearing-in, where they will be seated near the center of American power. The couple adopted Barack Obama in a traditional Native American ceremony in May, when he made a campaign stop at the Crow reservation. An adoption is a revered compact that has linked the first family with five generations of First Americans. Obama's daughters, Sasha and Malia, beamed as they met their adoptive grandparents over the summer.

Four of those generations of Black Eagles came to Washington to witness their new relative's elevation. Hartford and Mary will have prime viewing seats for the ceremony. She will wear a traditional elk-tooth coat, made of deep-pink wool. Hartford will don a buckskin vest he's been saving for the occasion, with six elegant rows of blue and red beads.

Monday, they took a moment to see the sights.

"That's where your son lives," Mary, 74, told her husband as they glimpsed the White House.

"There are a lot of ghosts in there," Hartford, 75, responded.

On the day in May when Obama arrived at the reservation, Mary froze.

Obama walked in and greeted the dignitaries, before the room was mostly cleared out.

"He started walking toward me. Oh, man, I was kind of tongue-tied, and he said, 'Are you my new mother, Mary?' And I said 'Yes.' He just gave me a hug."

At the private adoption, Hartford waved smoke from burning cedar needles over Obama, twice in the front and twice in the back, with a bald-eagle fan. Afterward, Obama told reporters he was deeply moved by the ceremony, and he vowed that if he won, he would have his new parents come to the White House.

Hartford is a spiritual healer and had been given the crucial, sacred responsibility of christening Obama with a Crow name. The act of naming is supposed to reflect the past of the person bestowing the name and the future of the person receiving it, Hartford said.

He chose "Awe Kooda Bilaxpak Kuxshish," which reflects Hartford's own travels as a healer and translates as: "One Who Helps People Throughout This Land." (source)