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Slideshow: Chapter Four: The worth of a boy

Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News SteveÕs parents, Ia Yang and Koua Vue, watch as a shaman calls the spirit of SteveÕs grandmother to their home.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Steve and Mitchell Xayapraseuth talk in the living room of SteveÕs house on the first night of the ceremony. SteveÕs cancer treatment was over, but Mitchell was still waiting to hear whether his treatment had been successful.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Shaman Pang Der Vang stands on a bench that symbolizes a horse transporting him into the spiritual realm. In a trance, he chants and stomps, looking for the spirit of Sei, Steve VueÕs grandmother. He had come to the familyÕs South Anchorage home so the they could make offerings to her.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Family and friends gather around cowhide boiling in a pot on the second evening of the ceremony. SteveÕs parents and clan members traveled to a farm in the Mat-Su valley area to kill the cow as part of a ritual meant to feed his grandmotherÕs spirit.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Steve shows his youngest brother, Eric, a pig in a dog carrier at their home in Anchorage. Later that night, the pig was killed as a spiritual offering.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News A cloth doll represents SteveÕs grandmother, Sei.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News On the family altar, buckets of rice hold incense and an egg, a symbol of moving between the worlds of the living and the spirits.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Men kill a pig in the entryway of Steve VueÕs home as an offering to his grandmotherÕs spirit. They believe she intervened to keep Steve from dying of cancer. Members of the Vue clan also sacrificed a cow. The ceremony, which lasted a weekend, cost his family more than $1,000.
Marc Lester
Alaska Dispatch