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Armand Minthorn, left, David Wolf and Alan Crawford of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation perform a blessing song Thursday at the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The ceremony was to bless the site of a new sweat lodge at the facility to serve indian veterans. (Aug. 25, 2011)

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Rite links ancient customs, today's veterans

Tribal members were at the VA Medical Center on Thursday to bless the site of a new sweat lodge.

WALLA WALLA -- No matter that Thursday's sun was already searing the ground and burning skin by 10 a.m., Armand Minthorn was prepared for the job he was in Walla Walla to do.

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