Chris Stearns has two distinct memories from his childhood in the late 1960s. The first is somewhat hazy: a crowded New York City picnic for white families who had adopted Native American boys and girls, somewhere at a hilly park. Mr. Stearns had never seen so many people — he was an only child in a Colonial-style house that backed onto a golf course in South Jersey — and the event was overwhelming. The other recollection is much sharper. One day, he was paid a visit by a man his parents called Chief Sunrise, who arrived at the front door wearing an eagle-feathered headdress and the white buckskin regalia of Plains Indians. His parents ushered Chief Sunrise into the family living room, where he took a seat on the angular modern couch. Then he turned to the young Chris, perhaps 4 years old, and drew him near. He sang a song, offered a blessing and went on his way.