President Obama enjoys unique welcome in Alaska Native village

YouTube: President Obama dances an Alaska Native dance in Dillingham, AK

President Barack Obama enjoyed a unique Inupiaq welcome during his visit to the Native village of Kotzebue on Wednesday.

Obama was meeting dignitaries and residents when Sandy Shroyer-Beaver, the president of the school board for the Northwest Arctic Borough School District, insisted on greeting him in a traditional way, The Washington Post reported.

“It’s our culture to welcome you with an Eskimo kiss, a practice in which two people rub noses," Shroyer-Beaver told the president, the paper reported.

Obama enjoyed it so much that he asked Shroyer-Beaver for another, the paper said. He also gave a traditional kiss to Cheryl Eden Shaw, the director of the Alaska Technical Center.

“You should have seen the look on his staff,” Shroyer-Beaver told the Post after the exchange. “That alone was worth it.”

A Yup'ik dance in Dillingham, Alaska. Photo from TheObamaDiary.Com

Earlier in the day, Obama visited Dillingham in Bristol Bay. He met local fishermen -- including Alannah Hurley, the executive director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, and elder Mae Syvrud -- at Kanakanak Beach.

The president also attended a cultural performance at Dillingham Middle School. But he didn't just watch -- he participated in a Yup'ik dance with youth from the community.

Obama ended his historic three-day trip with a speech in Kotzebue. He was the first sitting president to set foot in the Arctic.

Get the Story:
Obama gets an Eskimo kiss — and asks for another (The Washington Post 9/3)
In Dillingham, President Obama Yup'ik dances and talks up wild Alaska salmon (Alaska Dispatch News 9/2)

Related Stories:
Transcript: President Obama speaks in Native village of Kotzebue (9/3)
Gyasi Ross: Obama's checkered record on Native environment (9/3)
President Obama set for visit to Native communities in Alaska (9/2)
Alaska Native students being left behind in their own backyard (9/2)
President Obama meets Native leaders after landing in Alaska (9/1)
Rhonda Pitka: Alaska Natives put priority on subsistence rights (9/1)
Transcript: Obama remarks following Native leaders roundtable (9/1)
94-year-old Alaska Native elder greets Obama with Denali song (9/1)
Politicians in Ohio oppose return of Alaska Native name for peak (9/1)
President Obama restores Alaska Native name of highest peak (8/31)
President Obama to visit Native villages on historic trip to Alaska (8/25)
Alaska governor pursues appeal in landmark land-into-trust case (8/25)
Alaska Natives to welcome President Obama at end of month (8/17)

Join the Conversation