As a new transfer student with a background in anthropology and Native American issues, I have been an avid observer of the controversies surrounding Mt. Graham. Although I am sure that your publication has featured a plethora of articles on the subject, I ask that you write some more. The two articles I have read this semester have been grossly biased towards those who support the telescopes, and in a recent staff editorial, you have declared your solidarity with them. I do not argue the right to present your opinion, but ask that you provide fuller coverage of the issue by consulting more people whose opinions differ from your own.
I request that you interview representatives from the Apache Survival Coalition, SEAC, the current San Carlos tribal government, and other organizations who have for years committed themselves to opposing the telescope projects and the desecration of sacred lands. The token Native American you featured in the first article both agreed with the University's agenda and spoke under the condition of anonymity. You specified only that he was "Native American" and a former tribal councilman. Well, he could be one of any number of former Native American tribal councilmen across North America. How can the reader even be certain that this person exists? His opinion may be valid, but the way in which it was presented just doesn't seem credible to me.
When I first arrived here, I marveled at the "Paths of Life" exhibit at the Arizona State Museum. It gave me great joy that the university cared enough to collaborate with Native Americans so that they could present themselves on their own terms. However, when I got to the Inde' (Apache) section, I was infuriated because I found that someone had written graffiti demeaning Apache spiritual beliefs in the paragraph devoted to Mt. Graham. I was shocked that this exhibit, designed to promote understanding between different cultures, had been used as a forum for racist sentiments. At a later date I spoke to the head of museum security on this subject, and learned that the graffiti was not an isolated occurrence, but turns up almost regularly in the Apache section. This situation informed me of the animosity towards Apache people which has been magnified by the struggle for Mt. Graham.
I believe that the Wildcat has responsibility for addressing an occurrence like the one above mentioned, presenting credible information, and covering all sides of the story equally. Maybe if there were articles incorporating a diversity of opinions, people would have a better idea as to what Apache spiritual beliefs are and the opportunity to hear what environmental groups have to say firsthand. Everyone deserves to be heard, because without their input, we have an incomplete picture. One cannot dispute an issue without knowledge regarding the other sides. For any controversy you cover, I ask that you present the material fairly so that people have a means by which to generate their own opinions. The media has such power and potential to enlighten others, and it is sad to see that it often devotes itself to propaganda instead of news.
Kara A. Gniewek
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