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BlessingCeremony 017


Kim Marcus (right), a Serrano-Cahuilla Indian, leads a group of singers in performing Cahuilla bird songs before the Tobacco Blessing Ceremony for the California Center for Native Nations. Among the singers are his son, Raymond (left), and grandson, Anthony (center). Tobacco is sacred to Native Americans, who believe it to be a gift from their creator. The ceremony itself may not be photographed. Kim Marcus led chanting in the Cahuilla language as he and other singers blew tobacco smoke through an owl feather in the four cardinal directions.