Doctors have been transplanting livers, kidneys, and hearts for over forty years – but faces have always been different. They are seen as a sacred and untouchable part of our identity. Unlike other organs, face transplants are not life saving operations. As a result, ethical committees have always blocked them from going ahead.
In November 2005, 37 year old, mother of two, Isabelle Dinoire became the first person in the world to receive a new face. The decision made by French surgeons to perform the operation went against the findings of almost every other ethical committee in the world and has since sparked a fierce debate over the ethics of the operation.
With the long term effects still unknown, do the risks outweigh the benefits? Are face transplants really in the best interest of the patient?
The great herds that covered the prairies are no more. Along with their guns and disease the Europeans brought hearts formed on conquest and fortunes built on ownership of the Earth. They could not understand the Indian who lived upon the world, taking life from it as the birds of the forest. After the whites drew their lines on paper, and so made their new country, the Indian lands were trampled under the feet of immigrants more plentiful than the Buffalo.
The mighty nations of the East were rubbed out leaving only their names on the white man’s maps. By the white man’s year of 1861 there were 31 million Europeans on Indian soil. Their Pony Express raced from St. Louis to Sacramento in the passing of only ten days and the talking wires were strung across their land.
The time had come to face the vanishing of the Indian world. Many went quietly to the reservations, yet some chose to fight even in the face of so many foes with such ferocious weapons. And so the last great leaders rose to take their people to safety or to strike back.
Crazy Horse was a quiet man but very brave and courageous. He lived in a time when war was necessary to protect the very existence of his people and his family. Chief Joseph was the diplomat of the “Nez Perce” nation, a great heart who always spoke for peace. He tried to lead his people to another place where they could live in their way. But at the end his heart and spirit were broken. Geronimo was a great medicine man whose magic allowed him to hide from the armies of two nations. When his people were pursued they would run deep into the canyons and turn themselves into a rock, a tree, or a cactus.
Quanah Parker realized they were in a time of change. He knew that warfare no longer worked for his people so he made the transition to being a statesman and he chose to walk the path between two worlds. This is the story of these last great leaders and their peoples at the end of their time of freedom.
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