Opinion: Celebrate Santa Fe's 400th birthday
"A March 2 "My View" piece, "Puebloans should not approve of 400th party," was so full of historical errors, and so racially charged that it needs to be challenged.

In the first place, as Manuel A. Cristobal, councilman for Santa Ana Pueblo, states, "the Cuatrocentenario should not be a reconciliation of the atrocities of Spanish colonizers on Pueblo Indians."

It is in fact the commemoration of the establishment and founding of one of the most visited cities in the world, a city that was established by the Spanish in 1607 and reestablished in 1692 with the help of the Tlaxcalan Indians. It is a city where the internationally known "Indian Market" occurs annually and where three major Indian museums are located, all of them honoring American Indians.

Should we deny the historical fact that this beautiful city was established by the Spanish?

Second, Mr. Cristobal charges that "the Spanish forced us to convert to Catholicism and gave the pueblos Spanish canes to reinforce this subjugation. A life of servitude to the Spanish sovereign and the Roman Catholic Church is still practiced today."

Mr. Cristobal is absolutely right that forced religious subjugation occurred, but the pueblos revolted and I don't think you'll find a single scholar who would disagree that religious intolerance more than justified the revolt.

But he then erroneously states that the "Spanish canes" are a symbol of subjugation. Anyone who knows the history of the canes knows that, indeed, the Spanish were the first to recognize the pueblos' rights to rule over their own people, and thus the canes came to be known as the "canes of authority." And today, no one forces anyone to live "the life of servitude to the Spanish sovereign and the Roman Catholic Church.""

Get the Story:
Orlando Romero: Aren't we all New Mexicans? (The Santa Fe New Mexican 3/16)

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