SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A controversial monument in the Santa Fe Plaza was ripped down by protesters on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Originally erected in 1866 to honor Civil War-era soldiers who died in battle and featured a phrase of text that described Native Americans as “savage”. The text was erased from the monument in the 1970s.
Following recent protests and several rounds of vandalism to the monument, Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber ordered the removal of three monuments, the Santa Fe Plaza obelisk, a statue of Don Diego de Vargas, and the Kit Carson Obelisk. The Don Diego de Vargas statue has since been removed.
The Plaza obelisk, which is registered as a National Historic Landmark, was attempted to be removed by city crews in June, however, there were fears the monument would be damaged in the process. The City of Santa Fe stated it would then “begin the legal processes for removal”.
Crews then built an eight-foot plywood wall around the 133-foot tall obelisk in the meantime.
On Monday, following three days of protests at the site, demonstrators wrapped ropes around the monument and pulled it down. Two men were arrested during the incident including 24-year-old Sean Sunderland charged with resisting and criminal trespass and 27-year-old Dylan Wrobel, charged with battery on a peace officer and resisting an officer.