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Board votes to limit Fiesta de Santa Fe presentations

August 8, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe school board on Tuesday voted to limit the Fiesta Council’s annual visits to public schools in response to complaints about the way local history is depicted during the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe.

The new policy allows people dressed as conquistadors, Franciscan missionaries and other members of the Fiesta Court to visit only classes that study New Mexico history, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported .

The school district also will maintain an “opt-out” option for students who do not wish to attend Fiesta events in school. Another change halts a practice that allowed Fiesta Council members to choose students to portray Little La Reina and Little Don Diego de Vargas.

“It’s a reasonable compromise,” said Superintendent Veronica García, who developed the proposals along with a diversity task force over a period of months.

Organizers of the reenactment of a 17th-century Spanish conquistador reclaiming Santa Fe from Native Americans recently issued an apology to Pueblo Indians.

In a statement, Santa Fe Fiesta, Inc. said organizers for the first time apologized to the various Pueblo Indian tribes for the controversy around the reenactment that had drew criticism from some Native American activists for years.

Organizers of the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe recently agreed to discontinue the reenactment after months of closed-door discussions about how to resolve the growing discord over “the Entrada.”

The event, which was performed each fall on the Santa Fe Plaza during the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe, had become a symbol of colonialism for some Native Americans, as well as a painful reminder of New Mexico’s bloody past.

The pageant depicted the re-entry of conquistador Don Diego de Vargas into Santa Fe after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

Historians have said the reenactment lacked proper context about the events. Others called it revising history. The dramatization, for example, didn’t mention the threat of force that de Vargas used to retake Santa Fe or the years of bloodshed and brutality that followed.

Opposition to the Entrada dates to at least 1977, when the All Indian Pueblo Council formally expressed its disapproval of the Fiesta de Santa Fe “for its offensive display depicted by the reenactment.”

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.santafenewmexican.com

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