New Mexico Indian Affairs Department issues joint statement with tribal leaders on removal of statues in Santa Fe

Pictured: Santa Fe, New Mexico.(Photo: David Mark, Pixabay)

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Statues celebrated the killing of Native peoples, have excluded New Mexico’s tribes from shared history

News Release

State of New Mexico Indian Affairs Department 

Indian Affairs Department issued the following joint statement Wednesday:

“I applaud Mayor Alan Webber and the City of Santa Fe for its decision to remove several statues on city grounds.

As we are seeing throughout the state and across the world, people of good conscience are coming together to change how we think about powerful symbols like statues. It is no longer enough to present just one version of history. We owe it to all those who lived it to portray the full complexity of our shared past.

These statues, which celebrated the killing of Native peoples, have excluded New Mexico’s tribes from this shared history. We look forward to supporting all those who want to work toward a more complete retelling of our history and thank Mayor Webber for his leadership.”

Lynn Trujillo, Secretary, Indian Affairs Department

“The Pueblo of Acoma extends our gratitude to Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber for his decision to remove three statues from Santa Fe: the obelisk with an inscription referencing Pueblo people as “Savage Indians” located in the center of the historic plaza; a statue of Don Diego at St. Francis Basilica; and a statue of Kit Carson located near the Courthouse.

For decades, our Pueblo has opposed similar statues glorifying Juan de Oñate throughout New Mexico. There is absolutely no place for these symbols that glorify the mass killing of our people. It is clear that times have changed and there is a new openness to discuss how to better memorialize our shared history in a way that promotes deeper understanding and cooperation. Our Pueblo stands ready to participate in these conversations, and we thank Mayor Webber for his leadership on this matter.”

Brian D. Vallo, Governor, Pueblo of Acoma

“The Pueblo of Tesuque stands with Mayor Alan Webber and the City of Santa Fe in their decision to remove several statues from City property.

The Obelisk in the Plaza, which sits on land originally belonging to the Pueblo, has long been an affront to our people and history. Mayor Webber’s actions continue the better course, set forth in the Entrada dialogue, toward truth and reconciliation.

It is time that we--all of us who live as neighbors in northern New Mexico, and whose families go back generations--take responsibility for our shared history, not seen through one perspective only, but through all of our perspectives. That history is not simple, like a fairy tale. It is complex and nuanced, with deep pain and happiness alike. But that is the history we must now start telling, because it is the truth.”

Robert A. Mora, Sr., Governor, Pueblo of Tesuque

State of New Mexico Indian Affairs Department
(Image: State of New Mexico Indian Affairs Department)
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