The end of a controversial pageant known as the Entrada during the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe has given birth to another new event for next month’s community celebration.
Amid public outcry, the Caballeros de Vargas last year retired the dramatization of the Spanish reentry into Santa Fe after abandoning the city during the Pueblo Revolt. But the group announced Tuesday it will hold a new ceremony this year to continue a spirit of cooperation from last year’s celebration of peace and reconciliation on the Santa Fe Plaza.
“The Caballeros will begin a new ceremony of recognition [of] individuals who, in the work of their lives have brought together peoples of all cultures and backgrounds, especially our indigenous and Hispanic populations and have done a tremendous job to keep their own cultural traditions alive,” Thomas Baca-Gutierrez, president of the organization, said in a news release.
“These persons will be honored for their contributions, and every year, going forward, the Caballeros will add names to this list of remarkable people who represent the fundamental truth about this city: that we are one community, united in love and friendship,” he said.
In an interview, Baca-Gutierrez said the Caballeros will choose who will be recognized.
“Three people will be selected and voted upon by the membership,” he said. “They’ll be Native American and Hispanic.”
Baca-Gutierrez said the Caballeros are already considering nominations for this year but plan to ask for nominations from the community in the future.
The new event will be held in the time slot previously reserved for the Entrada. which depicted Spanish conquistador Don Diego de Vargas’ reoccupation of the city 12 years after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Protesters called the presentation revisionist history that downplayed violence against Native Americans.
The Entrada also paid tribute to a Marian statue known as La Conquistadora, brought to Santa Fe from Spain in the 1620s and carried back to the city by de Vargas.
In the news release, Baca-Gutierrez said the new ceremony “emphasizes the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the lives of not only Don Diego de Vargas, but all peoples who reside and work here and have raised their families for over 300 years.”
Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.