ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools heard from a panel of experts Wednesday night on the possibility of changing the name of Kit Carson Elementary School. “This was a very brutal, very violent chapter in Navajo history, and Carson was a central role in the leadership of this very violent campaign,” said a professor at the University of Kansas of Indigenous Studies Kent Blansett.
“Schools, prominent government buildings, monuments, these are meant to memorialize important cultural stories of patriotic, high-achieving figures. They are almost always white men,” said Margaret Montoya of UNM Law School.
Kit Carson has long been regarded as an important figure in New Mexico’s frontier history but supporters of the name change argue he represents brutality toward Navajo people. One member of the school community submitted a comment, questioning the need to address this issue right now, while the pandemic presents other concerns.
Another argued objections to the name have arisen suddenly in response to the current political climate. One of the panelists said whatever the decision, it’s important everyone has a chance to weigh in.
“This discussion I think opens up the possibility of the community to have a wide-ranging and reliable discussion about what that name means and what does it mean to the community,” said UNM History Professor Paul Hutton.
Kit Carson’s instructional council will decide whether to move forward with a petition to change the name.