The Indian Health Care Clinic received a traditional Indian blessing from a Ute medicine man as staff, doctors, clients and members of the community looked on Tuesday.

Bear Boy, a Ute medicine man, chanted the blessing, his face covered by a huge feather, then prayed for the facility and the people who would use it. At the end of the ceremony, he lit a stick of woven sweet grass and gently fanned it high and low around the room."We fan the smoke to purify the place," Bear Boy said. "It is a natural thing to ask Our Father for his blessing and forgiveness for things we have done." The blessing brings happiness, balance and harmony to the clinic, he said, and "a good feeling will surround the place."

The clinic, 146 E. Sixth South, received a similar blessing when it initially opened in October, but the open house and ceremony this week offered an opportunity to involve the community, said Dennis Taylor, director.

About 500 Indians receive health-care services at the clinic, funded by the Indian Health Service, and the number of patients is growing. Two-thirds of the patients are adults and one-third children.

The health clinic offers various services on a sliding-scale fee schedule. General medical services are available five days a week, obstetrics one, pediatrics twice and dental services, four times. An eye specialist is available once a month. Other services include consultation with a nutritionist, immunizations, prenatal care and well-child care. Patients can also participate in the Women, Infants and Children program.