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FIESTA DE SANTA FE

Debate heats up over annual Fiesta's one-sided story

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Debate heats up over one-sided story presented at annual Fiesta

Every autumn during the Fiesta de Santa Fe, men portraying European colonists march onto the Plaza on horseback, re-enacting the so-called peaceful reconquest of the city by Spanish conquistador Don Diego de Vargas, a controversial figure in history who is both honored and reviled.

Every year, the re-enactment and the Fiesta itself ignite consternation and hand-wringing over whether what happened more than 300 years ago should be celebrated at all.

The debate reflects the dilemma that communities, such as those that celebrate Columbus Day, and even states, such as South Carolina, which permanently lowered the Confederate flag from its State House in July, face when commemorating parts of history marked with violence and bloodshed.

The debate resurfaced in Santa Fe this year but took a more vigorous tone, sparking a demonstration on the Plaza during last week’s re-enactment, known as the Entrada, as well as calls from city officials afterward for a more “truthful” narrative of the city’s history. Now, even some former members of the Fiesta court are raising questions about the annual celebration.

A day after the demonstration, Mayor Javier Gonzales, who portrayed the role of de Vargas in 1989, took to social media and urged a more accurate retelling of the Spanish conquistador’s actions.

“As proud as I was to participate in this important community tradition, I do believe it’s time that we be truthful about the actual events that occurred during the resettlement,” Gonzales wrote.

“De Vargas by all accounts was a religious man of peace but force was still used to resettle Santa Fe and the indigenous people were forced to adopt Christianity as their religion,” the mayor wrote. “To imply something other sends the wrong message that the Spaniards were welcomed. We can be honest about what happened, and through truth and respect of historical events, become even more united.”

In his social media posts, the mayor used the hashtag #truthmatters.

The Fiesta de Santa Fe, billed as the oldest continuous community celebration in the United States, marks Don Diego de Vargas’ “bloodless reconquest” of the city in 1692 after the Pueblo Revolt 12 years earlier that had killed 400 Spaniards and forced some 2,000 settlers out of the territory. The overt suggestion — and belief among many New Mexicans — is that the settlers were welcomed back with open arms.

“The cry of ‘Viva la Fiesta’ … generates a curious blend of thanksgiving, revelry and pride in the hearts of Santa Feans who celebrate Fiesta annually to commemorate Don Diego De Vargas’ peaceful reoccupation of the City of Holy Faith,” the Santa Fiesta Council, which each year organizes the event, says on its website. Nowhere on the site is it mentioned that following that initial peaceful interlude came years of brutal war, executions and enslavement of Pueblo Indians by the Spaniards. At the same time came uneasy alliances as settlers and Natives worked together to fend off raiding bands of Navajos, Utes and Apaches, as well as pueblos still hostile to the Spaniards.

While historians agree that de Vargas reclaimed the city for the Spanish crown without any bloodshed, he did so, as former state Historian Robert J. Torrez wrote, “utilizing a masterful mix of diplomacy and a not so subtle threat of a siege.”

Author David Roberts writes in The Pueblo Revolt that it was still dark when de Vargas and his contingent of 50 soldiers, 10 armed civilians and 100 Indian allies approached Santa Fe in September 1692.

At first, the Indian sentinels didn’t believe the massed force was made up of Spaniards.

“The sentinels demanded that the intruders blow a bugle, to prove they were Spaniards. Vargas not only had the bugle sounded, but the war drum as well, yet at the same time cautioned his men to hold their fire,” Roberts wrote. “At last the Puebloans believed that genuine Spaniards had come to do them harm. Their response, however, was quite the opposite of the meek submission reenacted in the Fiesta de Santa Fe.”

In his journals, de Vargas wrote, “They replied that they were ready to fight for five days, they had to kill us all.”

Through an interpreter, de Vargas assured the Indians he came in peace and promised pardons, not punishment, for the revolt of 1680.

In her book, Storms Brewed in Other Men’s Worlds, historian Elizabeth A.H. John wrote that the Pueblo Indians “swarmed to Santa Fe’s walls and rooftops to shout their scorn of Vargas’ promises of pardon. They remembered too much of Spanish rule: Apaches hunted down and killed after Spaniards promised them peace; the work of building houses and churches for the Spaniards … the floggings when they did not obey.”

After a stalemate, de Vargas sent four soldiers to block Santa Fe’s only water supply and gave the Indians an hour to surrender, Roberts wrote.

“If they did not,” de Vargas threatened, “I would consume and destroy them by fire and sword, holding nothing back.”

Despite preparing for battle, “slowly the resistance collapsed” and “two unarmed Indians came out and pledged peace of all the Puebloans,” Roberts wrote.

“Late that afternoon, Vargas had a large cross erected in the middle of the Santa Fe plaza. Without firing a shot, the governor had taken Santa Fe. And so far, he could well believe that he had accomplished a bloodless reconquest,” Roberts wrote.

Within months, de Vargas had won the allegiance of 23 pueblos and returned to northern Mexico to gather soldiers and a colonizing party, including settlers who had fled the Rio Grande Valley during the revolt, to return to New Mexico.

Historian and author John Kessell, director of the Vargas Project, which compiled and translated de Vargas’ journals, said de Vargas led an expedition to Santa Fe to see how the Indians would respond. Since the contingent was traveling without women and children, the Indians knew the Spaniards weren’t staying, he said.

“Since the pueblos know that he’s not going to stay this time, they let him go through the whole business of ritually recolonizing. ‘Oh sure, we’ll swear allegiance to the king. Big damn deal.’ But they know he’s not staying,” said Kessell, a professor emeritus of history at The University of New Mexico who is now retired and living in Colorado.

Also working in de Vargas’ advantage is that, unlike during the Pueblo Revolt, the Indians were no longer united, he said.

“Immediately after the Pueblo Revolt, they started squabbling among themselves,” he said. “They’d rather you not know that. But if they had presented a united front, Vargas would have had a hell of a more difficult time recolonizing.”

When de Vargas returned a year later with 100 soldiers, 70 families, at least 18 Franciscan friars and a number of Indian allies, the encounter with the Indians was anything but peaceful.

In fact, “it was bloody as all hell,” Kessell said.

By the time de Vargas arrived in Santa Fe in December 1693, only a handful of Puebloans — including the Zia, San Felipe, Santa Ana and large factions of the Pecos — remained loyal. On Dec. 29, the battle for the city began. The next morning, de Vargas and his Indian allies emerged triumphant. In reprisal, de Vargas ordered every warrior who had fought against the Spaniards — 70 in all — executed by firing squad. The 400 who had surrendered voluntarily, including women and children, were divided up among the colonists and sentenced to 10 years of servitude, according to Kessell and Roberts.

Similar scenes — with similar repercussions — would play out over the next three years as de Vargas and his Indian allies campaigned against recalcitrant pueblos. By December 1696, most had capitulated.

“When they came back with 1,000 people in 1693, that’s really when the pueblos dug in their heels,” Kessell said. “But at the same time, certain pueblos, including Pecos Pueblo, supplied fighters on the Spaniards’ side. So, it’s not black and white. That’s the story I would tell.”

Gilbert Romero, past president of the Fiesta Council, which presents the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe, said the event celebrates the moment of peace between de Vargas and the Indians and a promise de Vargas made in 1692 to honor the Virgin Mary every year after he had asked for her help with a peaceful resettling of Santa Fe.

“I understand that there was bloodshed before and after and all that, but that’s not what we celebrate,” he said. “We celebrate peace. The promise made to La Conquistadora is what we celebrate.”

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But de Vargas plays a central role in the community celebration.

“The problem becomes divisive when it honors a colonial history of conquistadors who don’t have the best history when it comes to celebrating and honoring the, quote, ‘founders’ of New Mexico,” said Dr. Matthew Martinez, director of the Northern Pueblos Institute and an associate professor of Pueblo Indian Studies at Northern New Mexico College in Española.

“If we’re going to continue to honor de Vargas, there needs to be the complete story,” said Martinez, who was born and raised in the Ohkay Owingeh pueblo north of Española. “It’s just the right thing to do, is to present that context.”

When asked whether any changes to the Fiesta de Santa Fe should be made, Romero said no. “I think this has been a tradition for a long, long time, and I think it should remain,” he said.

Romero said the Entrada, which sparked last week’s demonstration, is sponsored by the Caballeros DeVargas.

Manuel Garcia, who is in charge of the re-enactment, did not return several messages seeking comment.

David Ortiz, president of the Fiesta Council, said the group doesn’t have any control of the Entrada script. “All the activities during Fiesta will continue as they always have been,” he said.

City Councilor Joseph Maestas suggested that now may be a good time for the city historian, Ana Pacheco, to meet with the Fiesta Council “and review the re-enactments, such as the Entrada, to ensure that it is respectful and accurate.”

“I can’t tell you what changes need to be made,” Maestas said. “But if we’re overemphasizing a certain aspect of history and glossing over another part of history, then I think we should look at making some changes.”

Maestas said he was serving on the Española City Council when the right foot of a bronze statue of Don Juan de Oñate, the first European colonizer of New Mexico, was sawed off and stolen in 1998 as the state was celebrating the 400th anniversary of his arrival here. A letter sent to newspaper columnists claiming responsibility for the vandalism said the damage was inflicted “on behalf of our brothers and sisters at Acoma Pueblo.” Oñate is believed to have ordered Spanish troops to cut off the foot of dozens of Acoma men and the enslavement of many others after an uprising there.

The vandalism was not isolated. Statues of conquistadors installed in Santa Fe over the years have been spray-painted with epitaphs such as “murderer” and “killer.”

“I think that’s a clear indication that there’s some very sensitive emotions about celebrating or recognizing the conquest of Northern New Mexico by the Spaniards,” Maestas said.

Councilor Carmichael Dominguez, who portrayed de Vargas in 2000, said “there’s been a demonstration in some form or fashion” at the Fiesta for many years. In 2000, he said, a line of Native Americans stood in front of the stage during the Entrada.

“They just stood there,” he said. “It’s a pretty overwhelming kind of feeling. It’s even intimidating to some degree.”

In 1977, the state’s 19 Indian pueblos boycotted the Fiesta after the Fiesta Council president at the time, Gilbert Valdez, penned a letter asking Indian vendors not to appear at the event. According to published reports, the letter led Indian leaders to denunciate the Fiesta theme: the 1692 reconquest of de Vargas.

Pacheco, who traces her family tree back to de Vargas, said the Fiesta Council could consider including, possibly through lectures, “some kind of an educational aspect … about the bad treatment of the Indians.”

“But the actual re-enactment? What would you do?” she asked. “Would you have somebody pretending to cut off an Indian’s leg or something?”

Pacheco said it’s unfair that Spaniards take the brunt of the blame for the wrongs of the past.

“It pisses me off,” she said. “It’s always the Spaniards. ‘They’re so bad. They’re so bad.’ Is anyone trying to get Andrew Jackson off the twenty-dollar bill?”

Jessica Montoya, who helped organize last week’s demonstration during the Entrada, said the reaction has been mostly positive, though it has also triggered some “laughable and emotional” backlash from members of the Fiesta Council and former Fiesta royalty.

“I knew what was coming prior to our peaceful action,” said Montoya, who served as a Spanish princessa in 2008 after an unsuccessful bid for the role of Fiesta queen.

“What people don’t know is that I was actually brought to my faith through my experiences,” said Montoya, who identifies herself as mestiza Chicana. “Our hope is the results will continue to be one of adding to this tradition with truth at the front.”

Montoya shared on Facebook a “Reader View” published in The New Mexican that had been written by Elena Ortiz, a member of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. Ortiz called the Fiesta “a racist celebration that insults all indigenous people.” Former Fiesta queen Monica Padilla commented on the post, “Wow I think this is stupid.”

“You think that Native Americans who are offended by this celebration of slaughter is stupid?” asked another commenter, Alex Braun.

“I said this was stupid because the person who reposted this was part of the fiesta celebration for many years and now has an offense to this,” wrote Padilla, who served as La Reina in 2002.

“The facts being based on ignorance,” added Padilla, whose maiden name is Gallegos. “No one knows what happened years ago first hand and it is all about hearsay. The fact that anyone would believe that there was no bloodshed is naive. The actual celebration is about peace and the end of the bloodshed.”

Romero, the former Fiesta Council president, said he was “disappointed” by the demonstration, especially because some of the organizers “are our own Hispanic people who live here in Santa Fe.”

“If we’re celebrating peace, why bring war back?” he said.

For Martinez, director of the Northern Pueblos Institute, the issue is about presenting a more complete picture of the region’s storied history.

“These were people that, in their eyes, might have had some of the best intentions,” he said, referring to European colonists such as Oñate and de Vargas.

“But there’s a lot of violence and historical atrocities that happened that I think need to be acknowledged if we’re really thinking about honoring and presenting a holistic picture of who we are.”

Contact Daniel J. Chacón at 986-3089 or dchacon@sfnewmexican.com. Follow him on Twitter @danieljchacon.

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(31) comments

William Mee

CONTINUED from below:
Imagine the somber nature of this mass with soldiers thinking there were to be in battle the next day---which did not materialize, but instead became a peaceful surrender.
Old Santa Fe: The Story of New Mexico’s Ancient Capital, by Ralph Emerson Twitchell, 1925, Rio Grande Press, page 91. Then on page 118:
On the twenty-second Captain Roque Madrid arrived with the main force having lost a few animals enroute.
Then on page 122:
On December 15th in a heavy snow storm De Vargas camped at the old ranch of Roque Madríd some 2 leagues from the Villa. On the 16th he continued his march to the Villa and established a camp on the left side of the Rio Santa Fe at the ruins of an old pueblo known as Pueblo Quemado.

To be able to point out these places today is Agua Fria's goal.

William Mee

I wanted this thread to calm down a bit before I posted this:

But I want this reexamination to be a good look at the historical record. The question we have in Agua Fria Village, is where was this at:

Several Reconquest books talk about General De Vargas the morning of the march into the La Villa de Santa Fe (future City of Santa Fe) or the night before the entry camping or resting at a place, which later may be Agua Fria.

“Dawn was just breaking over the Sangre de Cristo on the 13th of September, 1692, as the little party of intrepid Spaniards came in sight of the Villa de Santa Fe. Even at this early hour, doubtless having been advised by outposts, the alarm had been given. As the Spaniards approached, crossing the Santa Fe River near Agua Fria, they came by way of the right bank of the river, passing by the ruins of the house of Captain Juan Lucero de Godoy, near which the Indians had erected a small tower.” This then was the entrada.

There at a pueblo ruins (is it Pindi Pueblo? Which had these large ruins which travelers cleaned out and camped at over a couple of centuries?), he sets up a small chapel and holds a mass with a statute of Our Lady of the Assumption, to be later called: “La Conquistadora.” See SECOND Thread.......

Cardie Molina

www.staywoke.us is a movement that can apply to this budding one, the more people learn about the history, traditions/process here the more attitudes and actions will improve.

Juan Blea

We are feeling the effects of the REAL crime of history: US occupation of the region. Here's why: http://jblea1016.com/2015/09/21/what-the-u-s-did-to-the-hispanoindio-in-nm-is-the-real-crime-of-history-truthmatters-opiateaddiction/

Emilio Gonzales

My understanding of the annual commemoration of the "Entrada" by DeVargas is that it occurred without the shedding of blood by both Spanish settlers and Native Americans, and a promise was made by the settlers to annually show their gratitude for not encountering hostilities when resettling Santa Fe. However, there were infrequent hostile incidents that occurred between settlers and native peoples to settle issues that remained unsolved after the " Entrada".

Steve Salazar

n his later years Geronimo embraced Christianity, and stated

Since my life as a prisoner has begun, I have heard the teachings of the white man's religion, and in many respects believe it to be better than the religion of my fathers ... Believing that in a wise way it is good to go to church, and that associating with Christians would improve my character, I have adopted the Christian religion. I believe that the church has helped me much during the short time I have been a member. I am not ashamed to be a Christian, and I am glad to know that the President of the United States is a Christian (he clearly didn't say this in this century), for without the help of the Almighty I do not think he could rightly judge in ruling so many people. I have advised all of my people who are not Christians, to study that religion, because it seems to me the best religion in enabling one to live right.[

Jeremy Rodriguez-Ortega

It is disturbing that people in 2015 still refer to one's ethnicity as this or that. The peoples of New Mexico that identify as Spanish or Native American are actually a mixture of both cultures. By not acknowledging one's entire ethnic background is a kick in the pants to some of their ancestors. The blaming game has been used for too long and it has fostered nothing but hate amongst cousins. Native Americans have battled against one another for centuries and the people of Spain are descendants of the Jews, Moors, Germanic tribes, Celts, Romans and other peoples due to war in Europe. There is not anything that we can do to change history, but we can learn from it and have a greater respect and understanding of our fellow man.

Heather Nordquist

Well said.

aaron vasquez

I highly doubt you have any native blood flowing through your veins . Many white people love to throw that round and convince themselves of it

Heather Nordquist

I have a DNA test to prove it, cabron.

De Armond Williams

As a person of mixed ancestry (Dineh, Caddo, Potawatomie, and Spanish), I have been and I am still offended by the Fiesta Entrada. Why?It is a continued reflection of the economical, political and cultural disenfranchisement of the local native population, by the Spanish.
The relationship between the natives of this area and the Spaniards (and Caucasians), after hundreds of years has not been an equitable one.
It has only been in recent years or so that the local government around Santa Fe, has been willing to allow the natives to start having industries that provides them with self sustainability. Anyone who has kept up with the Casino drama knows it has not been an easy one for the natives to have started the first bingo halls and pull tabs industry.So much contention by the local city and state government. The historical control of the water by Spaniards made it difficult for natives to produce crops, much less create an industry of agriculture. The statue at DeVartgas reflect the image and position of the local native population by the Spanish and Caucasians, we are at the bottom.
So the Entrada is just a peaceful reminder to Los Indios that Los Conquistadors are still on top, and they're on the bottom.

Andrew Lucero

And I'm offended that you're offended...

Thomas Carlson

This land is no one's land
This land is your buryin' ground
I wonder why you’re fightin' over this land
God made this world
Everything that's within
Man against man
They fightin' over this land
This land is no one's land

John Lee Hooker

Andrew Lucero

Way back in the 1690's there was plenty of blood on everyone's hands... Both sides committed atrocities. Which was par for the course at the time...This entire argument is absurd. I'm not offended that the Indian's revolted and probably killed off members of my family, just like I'm not offended that the Japanese killed my uncle on Okinawa or made my father-in-law endure the Bataan Death March. Why? Because I wasn't alive to be offended! Just like no one is alive to give offense to what happened 323 years ago!

We don't need to change Fiesta's in order to present in any kind of politically correct light.--- Why?--- Because in over 300 years, the event has changed itself... It has evolved from what it originally was into the farce we have today... A Pagan ritual, a pseudo beauty pageant, some over priced food booths, a few vendors selling their arts and crafts, a couple of meaningless candy strewn parades and a few Catholic Masses thrown in for good measure.... It doesn't celebrate murder, it celebrates commerce. Nothing More! So get over yourselves already...If you are going to be offended, you should be offended that during Fiesta's a Navajo Taco costs $10 and Frito Pie costs 6

joe martinez

So who do we see about the 400 Spaniards that were killed and the 2000 families that were forced to leave? Or do we assume they had it coming? And the "raiding bands of Navajoes, Utes, and Apaches" were justified? How do we include all of this into the celebration?

Heather Nordquist

Those dead Spaniards don't exist. That is all just some revisionist, conquerer's myth. [wink]

Jeremy Rodriguez-Ortega

The Fiesta de Santa Fe is supposed to represent the coming together of two peoples - the Native American (mostly Puebloan) and the Spanish-Mexican. The Fiesta does not negate the fact that there was war between the two peoples. Instead it teaches that people can live side by side in peace, despite their differences. I represented Don Diego de Vargas for the 1995 Fiesta, not as an individual solely of European (Spanish) decent, but also as a descendant of the Pueblo peoples. An analysis of my DNA proves that I am product of newcomers and the indigenous peoples of New Mexico.
What many fail to understand and/or accept is most people that are descendants of those of the Spanish colonial period in the Americas are of Native American, European and African ancestry.
Majority of the Hispanics of northern New Mexico are genetically Native American (normally 30%) and the Native Americans (Pueblo peoples) are genetically European (30%-40%).
We are neither 100% Native American or 100% Spanish-Mexican.


Joseph Sanchez

For decades we celebrated ‘La Fiestas de Santa Fe’ from Zozobra to the Candlelight procession until we discovered the roots of the celebration, we were horrorstruck, it’s been years we don’t participate in any of the events!
The King of Spain had the same intentions the Romans, Napoleon and Hitler had, to invade the world at any cost!
Don Juan de Oñate y Salazar the first governor in New Mexico settled in Espanola was ruthless to Indians!
The first Franciscans Friars in NM were heartless toward Indians and their children imposing Catholic teaching using the European Legal system if they refuse to accept and at times paying the ultimate price, hanging!
After three generations of oppression, the Indian Revolt in the spring of 1680, rose up to overthrow the Spanish. Franciscan priests were killed, Spaniards were pushed back into El Paso!
Don Diego de Vargas brings along the Statue of La Conquistadora promised if they ‘Reconquer’ Santa Fe he would celebrate ‘Thanksgiving’ to the Mother of God forever, ‘Promise made, Promise kept’, at the cost of wide-bloodshed equivalent to what ISIS is doing today, embrace Islam or else! Heaven would not condone such atrocity!
The Cross of the Martyrs in memory of the Franciscans must be done away with!
The Fiestas de Santa Fe has been sugar-coated for decades as ‘Unity and Peace.’ The reality still remain and still offensive to New Mexico Indians, it must also be done away with as well!

Rita Koeser

These kinds of celebrations always honor the conquerors who killed and enslaved. We need to balance the picture and tell the truth of what really happened..whether it is Columbus Day, the Entrada or anything else.

Patricia Cunliffe

This story validates the need for my documentary The Pueblo Revolt (currently in post production). Originally submitted for a New Visions Grant to do a film about the Fiesta de Santa Fe, I did not get the grant, but continued with my project. While conducting my research, I found that the story leading up to the celebration was far more compelling...so my Pueblo Revolt project came into existence. I grew up in Santa Fe. I knew the words Pueblo Revolt, but that was it!

There was much violence and hardship against the Native Americans introduced by Don Juan de Onate with forced conversion to Catholicism, the Encomienda and Repartamiento systems, which were done away with by De Vargas' tenure, a result of the Pueblo Revolt.

Don Diego de Vargas died in 1704. Eight years later, Lt Governor Paez Hurtado, a former Captain and close friend of Vargas', began the annual celebration, as an act of honor for his friend to fulfill Vargas' promise to La Conquistadora.

Adrian Bustamante, one of the historians in my doc, states "The conqueror writes the history." John Kessell is another, as are many, from various pueblos, who have shared the Native American version which has been passed down in the oral history tradition. Joe Sando (Jemez) claims that because of the Spaniards, Indians of New Mexico were able to hold onto many of their traditions.

I now understand the urgency to complete this documentary.

Who was Po'pay? What is his place in American History? www.youtube.com/watch?V=hq_inNzLt3g


Glenda Hogan

Celebrating the death and destruction of people is wrong. We don't celebrate 9/11, the Holocaust, or other similar historical events involving the mass killing of people. What must occur in humanity "to conquer" is an antonym to peace. A peaceful re conquering of a people is not an accurate depiction. War is not a fiesta.

Heather Nordquist

Have you never heard of Civil War reenactments?

Jennifer Bizzarro

Ms. Hogan puts it in perspective. War and murder are not reasons for celebrations, nor should they be.

Ms. Nordquist--a Civil War reenactment is not a celebration, party or fiesta. Using that as an analogy, one would have to let the Union win sometimes and the Confederacy win other times.

Are you suggesting that perhaps that every other year the First People beat back Vargas and Spain? That would be terrific.

Heather Nordquist

This is absurd. Of course the fiestas are a commemoration of a historical event, just the same as a civil war reenactment. Neither is pretty, but it is part of our history. It seems to me that what you suggest about alternating sides is even more absurd. Of course the South didn't win; and of course, the Natives, in the end, submitted to Spanish rule. I don't have to personally take on the baggage of why it happened that way or whether it was just or fair. It is and will always be part of the fabric of New Mexico. This constant rhetoric about insulting the Natives does not get to the core of the issue; which is how to make New Mexico better for all its citizens and to continue to live in peaceful coexistence for the next 400 years. I don't personally feel responsible for what my ancestors may or may not have done those centuries past. I don't make excuses, but I also don't feel compelled to personally beg forgiveness. I treat all people with dignity and respect today, and that, in my view, is enough. There is also very little I could do about those centuries past, even if I did feel compelled to seek personal absolution from those historical goings on. I do know that I have Native blood running through my veins, too, and that until we find a way to move FORWARD, this division will never be healed.

Jennifer Bizzarro

Using your logic, Ms. Nordquist, New Orleans would "reenact" the slave auctions on Jackson Square in front of St. Louis Cathedral during Mardi Gras.

George C' de Baca

Great reply Heather. You make more sense than all the others.

Toner Mitchell

Great article, for the complex issues it brings to light. Still, I choke on the claims that Fiesta celebrates peace. Anyone who claims that with is not being honest.

Heather Nordquist

Thank you for at least presenting the complicated history of New Mexico's reconquest. I do hope that some middle ground can be found in our fiesta celebrations to both respect the past and also to celebrate that without all of this, New Mexico, as it exists today, would not be the same.

John Wilson

How sweetly simple it would be if everything were black and white, good and bad, or us and them. I prefer a more nuanced reality.

Thanks for an article that provides much nuance. I look forward to more education as the program surrounding celebration becomes richer and more inclusive.

Jennifer Bizzarro

Good story, Mr. Chacón and one which uses impeccable sources.

Donald Sure

The truth is always hard to accept. The so called celebration is now, and has always been a farce.

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