Spanish conquistador re-enactment replaced with new ceremony

Hidden History

FILE – In this Sept. 7, 2018, file photo, Hispanic participants in annual cultural celebrations in Santa Fe, N.M., linked to a 17th-century conquistador reclaiming Santa Fe following a 1680 Native American revolt portray Spanish-colonial royalty during an anniversary of Roman Catholic Mass. Organizers of the retired annual re-enactment are planning to hold a new ceremony after protest from Native Americans. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Organizers of the retired annual re-enactment of a 17th-century conquistador reclaiming Santa Fe after a Native American revolt are set to hold a new ceremony that seeks to include different members of the city’s diverse history.

The Caballeros de Vargas announced Tuesday it will hold an event this year that will include Hispanics and Native Americans, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports .

Amid public outcry, the Caballeros de Vargas last year retired the dramatization of the Spanish re-entry into Santa Fe after abandoning the city during the Pueblo Revolt. Native American activists had long complained the re-enactment was offensive.

Group president Thomas Baca-Gutierrez said the new ceremony will emphasize “the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary” in the lives of Spanish settlers and Native Americans.

“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,” Baca-Gutierrez said.

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.

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