Oñate Statue

This from The New Mexican:
Rio Arriba work crews remove Oñate statue ahead of protest

A statement issued by the county commission said a decision to remove the statue and place it in storage was based on concerns it would be damaged.

Well, that statue has been “damaged” previously. Oñate’s foot was cut off. Why? To remind us that Oñate ordered that the right foot be cut off of each man in Acoma Pueblo. This was the Acoma Massacre, a punitive expedition by Spanish conquistadors in January 1599.

So, what about Santa Fe? The current mayor remains firm in saying that no monuments will be re-evaluated. Of course we all wonder about the obelisk in the center of the Plaza. It was originally inscribed with a dedication to soldiers who died in “battles with savage Indians.” Years ago, someone (An artist? Native American activist? Fed-up city employee? All of these?) removed the word “savage” with a chisel.

So, it stands as an altered monument. The original is there, along with the pointed grassroots commentary. Its fate does seem unclear in the long run.

PS. Breaking News! I just got a note–from the Santa Fe Reporter Newsletter–Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber yesterday said he intends to call for the removal of the obelisk on the Santa Fe Plaza, as well as one that names Kit Carson outside the federal courthouse downtown. He says he also wants the Don Diego statue in DeVargas park removed and “put, perhaps, in a safe place, while we look for its proper home” In a Facebook Live announcement, the mayor said it’s his belief that “we must take these steps now because it is the right thing to do. It is a moment of moral truth.”

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well (https://miriamswell.wordpress.com). The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

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