Conquistador reenactment leaders apologize to Pueblo Indians

July 31, 2018
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FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2017, file photo, Edwin Quintana, left, dances with fifth grader Kaylee Pacheco and other students at Tesuque Elementary school in Tesuque, N.M. An annual, ceremonial reenactment of a 17th-century Spanish conquistador reclaiming Santa Fe from Native Americans will no longer take place. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Organizers of the annual reenactment of a 17th-century Spanish conquistador reclaiming Santa Fe from Native Americans have issued an apology to Pueblo Indians after ending the annual event.

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

“We have deviated from the original intent of honoring Nuestra Senora de la Paz,” said Melissa Mascareñas, president of Santa Fe Fiesta, Inc., said. “We regret the suffering, trauma and pain the Pueblo people endured.”

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

Alicia Ortega, director at the All Pueblo Council of Governors, did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

The event, which was performed each autumn 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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