Don’t focus on negative, irrelevant Apache issues

Last week, The Minnesota Daily did a two-part series on Mount Graham. In Wednesday’s article “Telescope sits high as cultural divide runs deep,” the end of the article highlights problems at home in San Carlos, Ariz. I am upset that the author mentioned an issue that is irrelevant to Mount Graham and the telescopes.

To briefly mention the use of methamphetamine and the high poverty rate on the reservation makes no sense to me. What connection does this have to the telescopes? Why do readers need to be informed about such devastating facts about the Apache when, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, there are two basic profiles for methamphetamine users: high school and college students and white blue-collar workers and unemployed persons in their 20s and 30s?

There is a rise in use among Hispanics and American Indians, but the dominant users are white. I am upset because there are many topics about various groups in the United States that don’t have such negativities mentioned at the end of an article. San Carlos Tribal Vice Chairman Robert Howard voices his concern for these problems, but I must note that what might be his priorities – his concerns for his people – are not priorities for all Apaches. Everyone has different priorities; what might be important to one might be nothing to another.

Thursday’s front picture displays three Apache tribal members overlooking the reservoir. What caught my eye instantly is the Apache holding a can of beer. Why didn’t the photographer crop the bottom of the picture so the beer would not be in it? Why was the picture chosen to be on the cover? As an American Indian, this picture offends me. Alcohol is a problem among American Indians, but not all. Many have struggled with alcohol, and to showcase a picture in relation to Mount Graham, the spirituality of the mountain and the telescopes makes me wonder what the purpose of this visit was.

I was informed that the two writers and the photographer had only five days to capture everything. I believe they captured very little. The sacredness, the connection the Apache Nation and many other tribes have to Mount Graham cannot be explored or uncovered in a mere five days.

In all these articles, only three Apache people were quoted. I believe readers need to know there is much more to be revealed about the connection the Apache have to their mountain and the strength and power to continue their fight and struggle for the removal of the three telescopes, and everything else that this issue entails. I am thankful to have had the experience of visiting Mount Graham and seeing firsthand their desire the Apache has to regain their mountain in whole.

Melissa Buffalo is a student personnel worker at the University’s American Indian Learning Resource Center. Send comments to [email protected]