UA neglects freedom of religion

What did the Fourth of July bring the Apache? University of Arizona lawyers, before the appeals court earlier this month, proved freedom of religion does not apply to Indians. UA knows full well of the voluminous sacredness verifications on Mount Graham i n UA's own library in Tucson. UA ignores the petitions and protests of our Apache elders, spiritual leaders and tribal council as if they were some sort of joke.

UA lawyers argued that despite these documentations, Congressman Kolbe's new telescope site was OK by White law. Again UA has dodged U.S. cultural and religious protection laws, just as they did the Endangered Species Act and the other environmental laws. They hold themselves above the laws all other citizens must follow.

Not a single sentence was printed in the impact studies about the sacredness of the Dzil Nchaa Si An. Not once in this 10-year project history has the government or UA consulted with our tribal religious leaders as is required under the National Historic Preservation Act.

UA mocks our beliefs and our Sunrise Dances where Gaan Mountain Spirit Dancers, which live in places like Mt. Graham, convey healing and wisdom to our Apache women.

It is clear the UA and their other astronomer collaborators could care less about Fourth of July freedoms applying to others.

Bernice Harney

San Carlos Apache Reservation

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