While the University of Arizona (UA) has been the first U.S. university to enter a lawsuit opposing the religious beliefs of a Native American people, Germany's largest science organization, the Max Planck Institute (MPI), easily matches UA for proactive cultural disrespect. A recent letter by MPI President Hans Zacher asks the German parliament to finance telescopes on a sacred Apache mountain here in Arizona called Mt. Graham. Zacher told parliament that the project "conforms to U.S. norms for protecting the cultist concerns of its natives." Not so. UA lawyers argued in court against us Apaches that the rider they sneaked through in the final hours of the 1988 Congress exempted them from all U.S. cultural and environmental laws.

Why does Zacher call our beliefs "cultist?" Would he call Christians cultist who oppose Israel radar antennas on top of the Holy Sepulcher Church in Jerusalem? Would he call Jews "cultist" who oppose proposed Egyptian casinos and condos on Mt. Sinai- where Moses received the Ten Commandments? The Old Testament forbids any such construction/desecration.

Five times in his letter Mr. Zacher calls us Apaches "natives." We are Native Americans or Apaches or Indian people. The colonialist, 19th century language from Germany's highest science executive is unsettling, especially when one considers Max Planck fueled much of the science brains for Hitler's war machine. Only European astronomers (Max Planck, Vatican and Italy) remain in this disgrace. All North American universities (some 27) have systematically rejected or deserted UA's attack upon humanity and our Mother Earth.

Ernest Victor Jr.

Co-chairperson, Apaches for Cultural Preservation Read Next Article