Activists Demand Spanish Conquistador Images Removed
The image of the Spanish conquistador is found throughout the Southwest — on streets, in schools, on names of hotels and neighborhoods. But there are some who demand they be removed.
Native American and Latino activists have convinced the University of New Mexico to consider a new design for its seal. And organizers of a yearly Santa Fe Fiesta have agreed to abandon the dramatization of Don Diego de Vargas capturing Santa Fe from the Pueblo tribes.
University of New Mexico professor Jennifer Denetdale, who is Navajo, said the images bring up a painful past.
"The history is of rape, murder, torture, the enslavement of indigenous people to labor on behalf of the Spaniards who came up from the south," Denetdale said. "It's been about the genocide of indigenous people the efforts to continually eliminate indigenous people."
Critics said taking away these conquistador effigies would be an attempt to erase history.
Some have likened the controversy to that of the Confederate flag and monuments, saying the country has acknowledged its history with slavery but it has not acknowledged its legacy with indigenous genocide.