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Introducing The Windigo

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Introducing The Windigo

Foreword:

We all need clean water, air, and food. 

There’s still time, if we invest in clean energy, and move away from fossil fuels; And, it’s more than time to honour treaties with First Nations.

Nature always has balance. Maybe before She gives up on humanity entirely, She will try to warn people directly of the danger we’re facing. 

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Introduction:

A friend asked about making a superhero disabled with allergies, asthma, and Environmental Hypersensitivities (often called MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities).

This can be an invisible disability. People often don’t realize how scents, pollution, paints, pesticides, and allergens can affect people’s health, sometimes profoundly.

The Contest:

This is my entry in the The Original Character Contest, hosted by Disabled-dArtist,

in the Visual Art and Writing Category.

The idea for Cassie, also known as 'The Windigo', came into my head right away, though there have been a few hurdles, on the way to getting to know her.

Contest Details:

Theme: Create an Original Character with some type of permanent disability. This disability can be anything from physical, mental, or emotional impairment.

Categories: Visual Art, Written, or Visual and Written-

Rules: In the description of the Entry, describe the disability the character has and briefly state how it started.

Contestants may enter multiple times and in multiple categories, with a different Original Character, though may only place once per category.

End Date: May 20th, 2016 to 12:00AM (EST) November 20th, 2016 

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Nota Bene: Cassie’s story continues in Introducing The Windigo, Page 2-Page 3, Page 4, and Page 5.

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Introducing The Windigo:

Cassie Greenaway was a Graduate Student at University College. Her specialty was organic agriculture. “What they used to just call ‘food’,” as she told her Adviser.

She wrestled with asthma, allergies, and sensitivities, all her life. It was mostly manageable, except for occassional problems, which made things more difficult.

The main focus of her research was companion planting, and The “Three Sisters”, the main crops grown by some Native American nations: winter squashmaize (corn), and climbing beans (typically tepary beans or common beans).

Her research involved not only lab work, analyzing how the plants were beneficial to each other while they grew and nutritionally; but, also primary research consulting Cultural Elders, to learn about the spiritual practices in different Native cultures associated with their cultivation.

When grown together, the Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. Beans fix nitrogen, for the corn. While the Beans help stabilize the corn plants. And, the squash vines become a living mulch, discouraging predators.

Also, nutritionally, the Corn provides carbohydrates; the Beans are rich in protein; and, the squash have vitamins in the fruit and seeds.

Cassie didn’t realize that another Graduate Student was sabotaging her research, contaminating her specimens, to promote her own work on GMOs, as well as making her sick with her perfume scents, though she'd been repeatedly asked not to by Human Resources, at the university.

Cassie felt like she had the flu, all the time; and, was having more trouble breathing. She ached all over. When she started turning green, she decided to go to the university’s health services, they weren’t able to  help. So, she went to see her Aunt Carol, a Naturopathic doctor in the city.

Her Grandmother was at her Aunt’s condo, when she arrived. She got Cassie on oxygen, which the Respirologist prescribed; and, called her daughter, at her clinic.

Then, when she was out of the room, Cassie saw the news about another delay from the UN on ratifying serious measures to protect clean water and address environmental health issues, related to worsening air pollution, and climate change. Another deadline for an agreement had come and gone.

She was so furious. There was no excuse for this dithering.

She had to say something, if these people, in their expensive suits weren’t willing to help eco-refugees, even with something as simple as clean drinking water.

She had to tell them.

She felt the power of Nature swelling through her, the way she did sometimes, when she was working with plants, and in the wild.

She had to make them understand.

She pulled the respirator over her face, pulled the goggles down to shield her eyes, from the glare, and adjusted the portable oxygen cylinder, in her backpack.

She had to make them see what they were doing to their own children, everywhere.

She took a step and found herself not in her Aunt’s condo, but in front of the UN delegates.  She had to make them understand, however she got there.

When she appeared, out of a cloud, the delegates went running and yelling. Security guards started shouting, pointing their weapons, at her.

She stretched out her hand, full of the force of Nature, and called out-

Listen!” Her voice echoed through the chamber, “Listen, to me!

“You are all suffering from Windigo Psychosis! You are eating your children’s future!

“It has to stop,” she pleaded. “It has to stop, before it’s too late for them, for all of us!

“You have to stop this. Or, it will mean mass extinction,” she wept, “All for the love of money!”

Through the force of Nature coming through her, the delegates saw the terror of the truth: a future with no clean drinking water, no arable land, air pollution so toxic people couldn’t breathe, would not last long. There was no future, if they didn't change course.

“It’s not too late,” she urged them, exhausted, “-not yet.”

Her strength was spent; she stepped back, through the cloud, and collapsed into her Grandmother’s arms, before the security guards could reach her.

Her Grandmother gasped, when she saw her disappear an dreappear in an instant,“Cassandra!” 

“I had to tell them,” Cassie whispered, struggling for breath. “I had to make them see. They’re eating the future… Windigo Psychosis...  I had to warn them.”

Her Grandmother shuddered, holding her Granddaughter, “The Windigo?”

She looked up as the news reader announced that an eco-terrorist had just attacked the UN, in New York City, “demanding action on climate change,” the announcer said, “And, protection of  clean drinking water, world-wide... calling herself ‘The Windigo’.”

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N.B.- Cassie Greenaway, a.k.a. The Windigo, character design, etc., by –Cat…
(me)

Resources:

-Chair, by TinaLouiseUk

-Texture 203, by Malleni-Stock

-Clouds-Texture, by YBsilon-Stock

-UNRESTRICTED - Pastel Grunge Texture, by frozenstocks

-1 United Nations Plaza 0948.JPG, by Gryffindor, available under the Creative Commons, CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

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Notes:

[1] The Windigo, in Algonquian folklore, is a monster in the northern forests of the Great Lakes Region of the United States and Canada.[4] 

It lends its name to the term, “Windigo Psychosis”.[6]

To some Indigenous communities and others, environmental destruction and greed are also seen as a manifestation of this condition.[7]

[2] “An Environmental Illness can occur when a person is exposed to toxins or substances in the environment that may make them sick. These health hazards may be found anywhere in the environment.” (From WebMD)

“Millions have reported living with various Environmental Illnesses, such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), Toxic Injury, Chemical Injuryand/or Toxic Encephalopathy… asthma… allergies… and sensitivities… (Kreutzer)

 “30.5% of the general population reported scented products or others agents as irritants; 19% reported adverse effects from air fresheners; and 10.9% reported irritation from scented laundry products” (Caress and Steinemann, 2009).

“Symptoms… range from mild to debilitating…” (From CleanIndoorAir.org)

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Memo:

It’s impossible to discuss Nature and organic cultivation, without referencing Indigenous cultures. Primary and secondary sources were consulted, to introduce Cassie’s story. My friends and family who are members of First Nations’ communities liked the character; and, encouraged developing her story.

Cassie will have to consult Cultural Elders, as her story continues to develop.

Although, either those who documented “The Windigo” and “Windigo Psychosis” were talking about some different phenomenon; or, their accounts were inaccurate, from what Cassie has experienced so far, in her brief introduction, this seems to be a manifestation of a different spirit of Nature.

This started as photomanipulations; and, looked like it might develop into an ebook, using photomanipulations. But, several of the Stock Artists are no longer active on DA; so, it wasn't possible to get their permission, or use their images, when putting the final submission together, before the end date.

And then, there was an equipment failure, while working on Psyche's Reflection; so, it’s been difficult to get this finished.

It will be interesting to see where Cassie’s story goes from here.

-Cat…

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Listening to:

-Buffy Sainte Marie - No No Keshagesh (Cree translated to English as “Greedy Guts”)

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Copyright: The characters and scenarios are my original and protected by copyright.

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Issues in Need of Support:

[1] #noDAPL-Standing Rock Documentary Released, RFK Jr. Visits Standing Rock

-The treaty rights of the Sioux Nation are being violated by the development of a pipeline which threatens the drinking water of not just the Indigenous people in the area, but potentially millions of others as well.

[2] #stopsitec, Stop Site C.org, DeSmogCanada.ca/ Stop Site C- BC Hydro Dam: 

The Site C dam, proposed since the 1970s, would be the third dam on the Peace River, with a price tag of $8.8 billion;

The B.C. government gave Site C the go-ahead in 2014, but the dam is facing several court challenges from landowners and First Nations who oppose flooding 107 kilometres of the Peace River and its tributaries, putting thousands of hectares lunder water. 

[3] On the other side of the continent, water protectors are concerned not enough is being done to address health concerns of Inuit and others living in the area around the Muskrat Falls reservoir, October 19th, 2016, The Globe & Mail, as part of The Lower Churchill Power Project.

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Copyrighted.comRegistered & Protected, Introducing The Windigo, Page 1
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We need a healthy world, with clean water, air, and organic food to be healthy.
It's how we evolved, or were created.
Keep Breathing.
-Cat...

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TinaLouiseUk's avatar
Great job! Thank you so much for including my stock :) x