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Santa Fe City Council approves plans for display of controversial statues in city

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two statues that have sparked controversy over how they represent New Mexico’s history will soon be on display in Santa Fe. Mayor Alan Webber says the resolution has been six months in the making, working with both tribal leaders and groups celebrating Spanish heritage. “The goal is to respect both cultures, all cultures. And to stimulate a learning dialogue around Santa Fe history, around the history of Northern New Mexico,” said Mayor Webber.

This comes after years of tension surrounding monuments around the City of Santa Fe depicting its colonial and at times, bloody history. One statue is a depiction of conquistador Don Diego de Vargas who reclaimed the Santa Fe territory after the Pueblo Revolt of the 1680s. The second sculpture shows the other side of the conflict depicting the Pueblo runners who were hanged for alerting other tribes about the uprising against the Spanish.

The resolution places the Don Diego statue in the New Mexico History Museum and the Pueblo runners in the Santa Fe Convention Center with information on the history behind the statues.

The plan has drawn protests from separate groups opposing each of the statues. However, at Wednesday night’s Santa Fe City Council meetings, there were only a couple of dissenting voices with most members of the public expressing support.

Councilors said this isn’t a perfect answer but a step in the right direction. Ultimately, the council voted unanimously in favor of placing the statues. Mayor Webber said this decision could lead to more positive steps when dealing with controversial pieces of history like the infamous Obelisk.

In developing the plan for the statues, the city worked with the Tesuque Pueblo governor, other tribal leaders, the Fiestas Council, and the group Caballeros de Vargas.

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