Oñate statue taken down near Española

By Staci Matlock
editor@taosnews.com
Posted 6/15/20

Little by little, a forklift lifted up a statue of the conquistador Don Juan de Oñate off his base near Alcalde, New Mexico Monday afternoon (June 15) to the trills and shouts of onlookers. …

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Oñate statue taken down near Española

Removal of the Juan de Oñate statue in Alcalde, New Mexico on Monday (June 15).
Ryan Begay/Facebook live
Posted

Little by little, a forklift raised up a statue of the conquistador Juan de Oñate off its base near Alcalde, New Mexico Monday afternoon (June 15) to the trills and shouts of onlookers. What was left was a concrete base in front of the Oñate Center.

Oñate founded the colony of New Mexico for Spain and was considered  an important historical figure for descendents of the Spanish families who settled the region more than 400 years ago. But for native people Oñate represented  a despot, responsible for the massacre of between 800 and 1,000 people of Acoma Pueblo and the brutal treatment of the survivors,  cutting off the left foot of some and selling others into slavery. He was later convicted of crimes against native people. 

Hundreds had petitioned the Rio Arriba County Commission to remove the statue. Media reported later that the removal may be temporary.

Ryan Begay, who has friends in the area, was on scene filming the statue's removal. 

"It is time to rewrite the history books," he said as the statue came off its pedestal. 

This is a developing story. Check back for a full story courtesy of sibling publication the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

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