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Native Man Shot at Protest in New Mexico

Earlier today, New Mexico State Police confirmed that a man was shot while celebrating the delay in replacing the statue of Don Juan de Oñate just outside the Rio Arriba County Clerk’s Office in Española.

According to witnesses, the shooter was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, and was known to terrorize people online and would encourage rowdy activity at protests. 

New Mexico State Police confirmed that one person is in custody related to the shooting, and there is no longer a threat to the public.

Last night, Red Nation, an organization that advocates for the liberation of Native peoples from capitalism and colonialism, camped out to protest the replacement of the statue of Oñate. 

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Juan de Oñate is the first Spanish Governor of the province of New Mexico, 1598-1606, and is well known as a conquistador. According to the Associated Press, he is known for having ordered the right feet cut off of 24 captive tribal warriors after his soldiers stormed the Acoma Pueblo’s mesa-top “sky city.” That attack was precipitated by the killing of Oñate’s nephew.

His statue was removed in 2020 from Alcade, New Mexico after protests demanded that statues of colonial figures be removed from public space. Many statutes of colonial figures were removed throughout the United States after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020. 

In a Facebook post, Red Nation said the person shot was one of their relatives, and his first name is Ryan. There is no information on his condition. 

The shooting happened around 12:15 p.m. after a group of Native people was celebrating the postponement of the rededication of the statue, which was scheduled for today. 

Rio Arriba County announced earlier this week that they had planned to rededicate the Oñate statue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the county office today but canceled the rededication ceremony yesterday due to safety concerns.  

Counterprotesters were near the county building, arguing with demonstrators that their culture and history were being ignored.  

This is a developing story. 

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