Ken Leighton 9:29 a.m., May 22
still feeling the Attachment (edited for capitalization,punctuation,spelling and flow)
How long has it been since first Natalynn Winningway's story began to unfold
I was rushing along....writing at least 4 to 8 posts a week and suddenly i got derailed.....
I blamed it on a overly aggressive Blue moon.
Someone started howling.....a winsome cry.....and my fickled heart returned it...... whoa is me !!!
I was scooped up by the Universe and hurled thru space at the speed of a meteor when i started this book
~pequeño el pobre~
But i don't intend to dwell on this....in fact i've dwelled on it to long already...
Much has happened on this long sojourn i've taken away from this book.....and all thru it i heard my book Attachments calling....i thought it was simmering on the back burner in my mind.....but eventually even i had to admit to myelf that my delicious Native American soup had grown cold
I hadn't tended the fire...and like a candle burning at both ends had burned myself out
I feel myself leveling out now.....so pen in hand....or bottom planted firmly in the computer chair i return to bring this tale back to life and hopefully finish it
Bear with me please...while i look for my outline notes....and read my last few book posts
and once again we will be on that journey of discovery with
She Takes Wing
and all the other characters of the book and thanks for your patience
This is a story of genetic engineering run amok....
Of indigenous people being taken advantage of
Of chaos and complete confusion at what science has wrought..
A Frankenstein monster or a salvation for mankind...
Viewed thru the eyes of Native Americans...Doctors...Scientist...the Government and the Military
You decide the truth of it for yourself
There were times when Natalynn could still smell the ocean and hear the singing of the whales in her mind even though it was a distant memory
Her tribe would be getting ready for the whaling right about now
They had fought long and hard with the government many generations before to have their whaling rights returned to them
It was because of this whaling/government connection that the elders had first been approached about the government's genetic engineering project that was looming on the horizon
Many promises had been made by the government
Promises of children who wouldn't have diabetes or alcoholism .and that slowly all the genetic diseases that affected her tribe would be genetically removed
The Makah would prosper in ways never even imagined by her parents and grandparents
if only that could be
The elders had considered the Makah involvement long and hard, of course the fact that they were blackmailed about their whaling rights had a huge influence on them.
When they cooperated and sent a few of their people to the labs for tests and possible genetic alterations, none of them knew they had started on a dangerous path. They didn't realize it's significance,how earth shattering it would be.
But isn't that always the way it is with the "White Man" and the "Red Man"?
Three generations later both races were about to find out and when the joy and amazement subsided all that would be left to consider was
was it a song worth singing
Queenie Shambala's beeper was insistant and she felt like tossing it out the window, but as usual she resisted the impulse . The clinic on the Rez was always busy on Monday, busier today than usual
She glanced at the beeper as she turned it off for the umpteenth time " come to ultrasound" the message said "ASAP"
Being a Neonatologist on this Indian Reservation was a very busy job and there are always those days when busy is not particulary welcome
This was one of those days
As Queenie Shambala came full steam thru the door of the ultra sound lab she caught a glimpse of Natalynn Winningway on the ultrasound table
The tech was moving the ultrasound wand slowly over her swollen abdomen
Natalynn looked calm and seemingly out of touch with the procedure
It was something she'd had to do so often during a pregnancy and she was mostly detached from the results
In fact Natalynn had to have many more tests and procedures then most pregnant women on the Rez
Natalynn and women like her were the reason Queenie was doctoring here. She had applied and reapplied for 3 years for a post on this particular Rez
Natalynn and her husband Joseph and their families were part of a multi-gene cleaning experiment created by the government thru the discoveries made in genetic engineering
Medical science was trying to find ways to eliminate all gene linked diseases which so ravaged all Native American tribes
Oh that sounded so altruistic didn't it
No more babies with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome because the native women wouldn't be drinking out on the edge of the Rez by the time they where 12
"What's up" Queenie asked
The tech stared up at Queenie with a perplexed look
"I can't find it now" she said
Natalynn lifted out of her revelry and turned her head toward the screen and as per usual this early in the pregnancy she couldn't make head or tail of it. Queenie noticed and said "another perfectly normal pregnancy Natalynn you can get dressed now".
A slightly embarrassed look crossed the tech's face as she turned to Queenie who motioned her to stop the scan and waited for Natalynn to leave the room
"What did you see" she asked the tech
"I'm not sure" as she brought up the video playback "See right there" the babys back flipped into sight and a slight almost imperceptable shadow raised from the scapular areas on both sides
As she backed up the video and reran the event Queenie looked carefully at the picture
"She's 16 weeks now right isn't she?:" "Yes" the tech said
"What was your impression ?" Queenie asked
"It looked like some kind of possible abnormal growths to me but it came and went so quickly that i didn't form a definate opinion but i thought you should see it right away"
Queenie's brow furrowed, but she didn't get that feeling that something in the pregnancy had gone wrong
"Thanks for the "heads up" we"ll recheck that angle again next time she comes in"
Natalynn's ultra sound was shelved until her next visit
* Another stupid test over Natalynn thought
Natalynn was in a hurry to get home now
Her son Michael was going to be dancing in the Pow Wow later that month and there was still so much sewing to do on his dancing attire
She felt so well this pregnancy ,more energized than she'd been ever been with Michael.She was sure she would have a girl,all the older women of the tribe had predicted it
A child of such stature and significance that many would know the truth of the creator's plan for her tribe
Such an auspicious prediction had not been given to the brith of a child in a very long time in her tribe
Her emotions were buoyed up by it
"Yes" she thought "this will be a remarkable child"
"A child to change the destiny of her nation"
Such an absurd thought in the primitive young womans head
Aren't all happy pregnant young woman holding these dreams of their child's greatness
The Christian Virgin Mother must of felt that way over 2000 years ago
"Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way."
A Native American saying
The history of the experiment was muddled in Natalynn's mind
What she remembered most was the fear her family felt when they had to go to the BIG CITY to be poked and prodded and tested and examined head to toes for any changes due to the treatment,and the questions and notes ,they took copious notes, never with any explanation of what they were looking for, altho they always ended the exam saying
"Everything is going just as expected" "sorry for the long bus ride" "We'll see you again next month"*
3 generations later the rides were obsolete
but those who were born changed weren't living in Neah Bay anymore
they were living in the 4 corners area of the United States in a huge Medical Reservation created specifically for those involved in the GCE (Gene Cleaning Experiment)
The Makah were the first to have the cleaning done. The first to change. The first to enter the third stage of the Cleaning procedure
Now they lived far from long inviting beach shorelines
They couldn't smell of salt spray that awakened them each day
They couldn't take long walks and wander thru foggy pine woods, picking musky mushrooms to eat and sell
Now only the heat and dust of the~~Dinn Wind~~Met their nostrils every day
The deep canyon pool was an oasis in the otherwise dry and dusty landscape. Each day Natalynn carefully tread down the path into the canyon to wade into the water and float lazily in the coolness of the canyon's pool
"This child feel like a water sprite" Natalynn thought as she and her baby bouyantly floated on the surface of the water....
"She is so very far from the animal crys of all Coastal wisdom"
"May the canyon water here on it's long journey to the sea teach this child the wisdom of water at it's source"
"A source of wisdom of green and alive....a wisdom which seeks the expanse but then returns to it's source like the Salmon"
Each day she went and sent this offering into the Universe
It was then she began to feel the fluttering, at first as gentle as a butterflys wings but as the days went by it strengthened, until it began to feel like a wild bird caught within the cage of her body eager to be released to fly out into the air
~~~its true home~~~
She made the decision early on NOT to tell the doctors at the clinic about this
She didn't know why
She just knew
"Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way."
Wesley was inundated with requests from nearly every department about Natalynn Winningway's second ultrasound. Had it been done yet When would it be done. Had she had an amniocentesis Was she scheduled for one.....
WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON ??????
What did someone know she didn't know ???
"Dr Shambala" she said as Queenie rushed in looking slightly disleveled and breathless...."I've got a lot of request here that don't make sense to me".....then she pushed them all across the desk in a pile toward her boss
Queenie picked them up and ruffled thru them...
The look on her face became more and more alarmed....
Wesley heard her mumble something under her breath....then Queenie said...
"We got that the 2nd ultrasound done right" ???
"I scheduled her" Wesley said
"But did she show" ???
"I can't believe she didn't....Natalynn is very conciencious about her care....but let me check".....
A brief phone call later answered that question....
"Isn't she 22 weeks now Wesley"
"Yes' said Wesley
Queenie was off like a bullet out to her 4 wheeler to drive to the tribal summer retreat in the canyon.....
Wesley had never seen Queenie so anxious before....there was always some tension with these births....the kind Queenie attended....but this seemed different....Wesley had a feeling she hadn't had since the first Gene Cleaned birth....a feeling she never thought she's have again with the sucess rate they'd had on the Rez....
If there were any anomaolies SHE hadn't heard about them... but she wouldn't would she....the medical wall of silence would go up so fast it would make her head spin......
Something was up....
Something she had no business knowing about..... and she offered a little prayer up that this would all be a tempest in a teapot.... but that teapot had been on the boil too long to change the outcome now....
Natalynns son Michael had aready become multicultural He was as well versed in Plains Indian lore as he was in his own He rode horses with abandon and had learned all their dancing and drumming songs and techniques
He was eager to wear the costumes and take part in the Pow Wows both on the Rez and off
He let his hair grow long to covered the flatness of his Makah forehead altho he could do nothing about the underbite of his Makah jawline
This kind of assimilation hadn't been easy but not as hard as their grandfathers had beenwhen they were taken away from their parents sent to "white" schools and not allowed to speak their own language
Yes this way was easier but was it better ??????
The old women of the tribe believed in new beginning
They had held the truth of agelessness in their heart and wanted more for themselves and their grandchildren
They encouraged the young people to have the Gene Cleaning done
They waited thru the generations to see what the medical procedure had done for the Makah nation
Michael was a perfect example of the success of the procedures, born from a family of diabetes and alcoholism he showed no traits for those diseases
All the grandmothers wanted to know was when would the family be able to leave the Medical trails and go home to Neah Bay forever
More then 60 years had gone by with visits just 3 times a year by those cleaned to their Neah Bay home tribe
It was a short note
The note had come in during the 2 weeks Queenie was on vacation with her family in New Orleans
Queenie remembered it was from the Radiology department with copies to the Genetic department and the Orthopedic department all it said was "did you recheck this sonagram" ?
Queenie pulled the chart of Natalynn Winningway and ruffled thru it. It looked like a second sonagram hadn't been done
"Oh no" she thought "I better add her to the sonogram scheldule" and she yelled to her secretary as she rushed out the door to attend her first delivery of the day "make an appointment for Natalynn Winningway for a follow up sonogram Wesley what week is she in now"
"The 20th week" Wesley replied unhappy with herself
Queenie said "i should have schelduled that before i went to New Orleans"
"Two weeks later won't matter" Wesley shouted as her boss disappeared around the corner at the end of the hall "No i guess two weeks probably won't matter" Queenie thought*
NO TWO WEEKS WON'T MATTER
The God Complex
Don't let their beauty confuse you....it's a rare doctor who isn't arrogant....scratch the surface of their insipidly friendly remarks and and you'll find a barbed wire brain that say's " DO NOT ENTER THIS RARIFIED SPHERE " and Dr Amel Markem was no different.....he was well beyond the day when doctors from India and the Middle East felt they had to hide their true persona under the bushel baskets of smiles and lowered lashes....he was brusque...brusque...brusque....and as the Chief Geneticist for the 4 Corners Program... in charge of the newly innovated 3rd Gene Cleaning Program....he was at the top of his game....with every step up the ladder he took.....his bedside manner went further and further into the toilet..... as it should he had decided.....what a lot of rubish it was for a man of pure science to have to be bother with such drivel..... he had come to the Rez from the NIH.....and had been spoiled by the leeway he had to move from point A to point B merely because of the impunity of his genius neurons snapping out a path........ try it....get it right........try it.... get it wrong....try it again....collaborate with a colleaugue down the hall....get him/her to do some of the work.... was there a natural peptide that had a greater afinity for the location site...hand it over to a bright PHD student to do the lab work and tabulate the data....call their results and discoveries your own....after all it is YOUR project PUBLISH....BEFORE ANYONE ESLE DOES....GET A BIG GUN DOC ON BOARD....MENTION HIS INVALUABLE ASSISTANCE even if he only lent you his name...put his name in BIG letters put the initials of your assistants on the bottom in smaller letters... if you're ethical enough to do that..... let me introduce you to the man that wrought a miracle.....or a medical blunder....whichever way it would be viewed....and in the very near future he will be barraged with questions that he has no answers for.......
HUMILITY would be long coming to Dr Amel Markem and it may cause him to meltdown......
So many of the tribal people came in the worst of the summer's desert heat to cool themselves,set up their teepee's to spend several weeks fishing and hunting,picking berries,trading and selling their crafts
And listen to the stories of many cultures in the river canyon
It was not a pow wow,it was more like a rendezvous
Natalynn loved this time because Rendezvous was well known to her from her Northwest heritage....
She always had so many Makah crafts to trade or sell.So many were interested in the whaling stories her husband told and the beautiful wooden carvings he did of canoes,whales,seals and sea birds Joseph and she felt unique and special during that time....and they were held in high esteem because of their difference....differences that at other times were veiwed with a sceptical eye....indifference and often outright intolerance..... not so much because their Makah tribal conection but because of they were further along in gene cleaning......
I had begun not long after the cloning experiments...first on sheep then dogs then humans... how could it have started on humans....all goverments had outlawed it... so much for government promises when the International Genome Mapping Project was completed in Iceland the stage was set for realizing the dream of irraticating recessive gene linked diseases....it was amazing how quickly the work progress.....suddenly thru gene cleaning they removed the chromosone fragment that caused Tay-Sachs from the Middle Eastern population.....any number of genetically inherited conditions were identified and genes cleaned out of some specific populations affected.... when Cystic Fibrosis was identified and irraticated the world medical community swelled with pride with the almost Godly means they had found to change the condition of mankind it wasn't an easy procedure with double recessive carriers...but they'd done it !!!
Medical science had done a thing altho contemplated...never expected to move to so swiftly to a positive conclusion....with in vitro fertilization and gene manipulation the possibilities for changes were endless the Native American population was chosen because of their propensity for Diabetis and Alcoholism and Obesity.......
The picture of Native American drunkeness with very little exposure to alcohol was too tempting to pass up....they must have a gene structure that made them more susceptable to alcohol then others......this was a long term very sophisticated cleaning procedure.....as was the fragment for diabetus....perhaps they were linked ????
In time they found that one generation of gene cleaning wasn't enough so whole families were included in a multigenerational approach
As she stood on the shore of the river trading and selling her reed baskets and sea shell jewelry Natalynn carried a child whose chromosones had been thru 3 gene cleanings....the first in the country.....the first for the Makah's....the first for the newest cleaning procedure available.....
~~the first of her kind~~and when upon her birth she would be tested for DNA to be mapped~~she wouldn't be human~~