My State made the national news today because yesterday a man was shot in a scuffle between demonstrators trying to tear down a statue of Juan de Oñate in Albuquerque and a group calling themselves the New Mexico Civil Militia.. Oñate was a Spanish explorer, conquistador, and first governor of the Spanish province of Santa Fe. He is a controversial figure due to his savage response to the murder of a baker's dozen of Spanish settlers by Indians from the Acoma Pueblo.
His response destroyed the Pueblo, killed 800-1000, and enslaved many more. Surviving men over 25 had their right foot cut off. Oñate was eventually convicted of excessive force by Spain and temporarily exiled from New Mexico and Mexico City.
His name and statues have long been prominent and controversial. My sons graduated from Oñate High School here in Las Cruces. One of his statues had its right foot cut off some years back - a condign punishment if ever there was one.
Interestingly enough, Oñate was married to a woman descended both from Cortés and an Aztec emperor.
I don't know who the would be vandals were, but they looked more like white college students than Acoma Indians to me.
Albuquerque has since hauled away the statue. I think we might need a museum just for out of fashion statues in this country.
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