Hawaii U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka is back at work on Capitol Hill after breaking two ribs last week.
The 86-year-old senator had been recovering at home since the May 2 accident when he slipped and fell while taking a shower at his home in Virginia. He returned yesterday to cast a vote for the nomination of a federal judge in Tennessee, said his deputy communications director, Jesse Broder Van Dyke.
Broder Van Dyke said that there were no complications, although Akaka still has some pain.
Akaka also co-hosted a conference yesterday on legal empowerment for indigenous peoples. The senator was honored at the conference in a naming ceremony held by the Alaska Federation of Natives.
Akaka was given names in three different Alaska Native cultures – "Jín da aadí" meaning "Helper" in Tlingit, "Akumleq" meaning "Chair" in Yupik, and "Ilaagudax" meaning "Helper" in Unangam Tunuu, the Aleut language, his office reported Akaka’s wife, Millie, was also given names during the ceremony – "K’eikaxwéin" meaning "beautiful" in Tlingit, "Atsaq" meaning "sustaining berry" in Yupik, and "Millidax" meaning "Millie" or "endearing" in Unangam Tunuu.
"I was honored to co-host this event and to receive these honorary gifts, they will serve as a reminder of our lives together, as native peoples, and of our long history together, Hawaii with Alaska," said Akaka, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Names are given to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to native society. In receiving these names, Akaka and his wife become part of an extended family network, Broder Van Dyke said. Tlingit names bestow a symbolic immortality to individuals since succeeding generations will carry these names. Giving a Yupik name is a time-honored tradition and heritage of the Yupik people and Atsaq is a berry that is significant in Yupik lore and diet, and is believed to lead to a healthy human being.
Broder Van Dyke said Akaka will return to the islands during the Memorial Day recess and will attend the National Veterans Golden Age Games.
Akaka and Sen Daniel K. Inouye are the honorary co-chairmen of the games,which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in Hawaii.
The games, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, are expected to draw more than 700 competitors along with family and friends. More than 1,200 participant are expected to spend nearly $5.8 million.
In March, Akaka announced that he will not seek another term next year.