SANTA FE – An annual re-enactment of a 17th-century Spanish conquistador reclaiming Santa Fe from Native Americans after an uprising will end amid protests that it whitewashed a dark period in New Mexico history.
Organizers of the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe said they would discontinue the event known as the Entrada after months of closed-door discussions about how to resolve growing discord over its significance, Regis Pecos, who has been designated to speak on behalf of the various groups, told The Santa Fe New Mexican on Tuesday.
The event was performed each autumn on Santa Fe Plaza during the annual fiesta and has become a symbol of colonialism for some Native Americans, as well as a painful reminder of New Mexico’s bloody past.
“The Entrada as we have known it will no longer be part of the fiesta for all of the obvious reasons of what it causes in continuing that representation of the past,” Pecos said.
Various stakeholders, including the Santa Fe Fiesta Council and the Caballeros de Vargas, a fraternal organization that put on the re-enactment, agreed to return to the original intent of a proclamation signed in 1712 that calls for a celebration “with Vespers, Mass, Sermon and Procession through the Main Plaza.”
Details were still being worked out, but Pecos, a former governor of Cochiti Pueblo, said there are plans for a revised series of events to commemorate the negotiation of reconciliation.
The Entrada – Spanish for the entry – depicted the re-entry of conquistador Don Diego de Vargas into Santa Fe after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
Historians have said the re-enactment lacked proper context about the events. Others called it revisionist history. The dramatization, for example, didn’t mention the threat of force that de Vargas used to reconquer Santa Fe or the years of bloodshed and brutality that followed.
Opposition to the Entrada dates to at least 1977, when the All Indian Pueblo Council formally expressed its disapproval of the Fiesta de Santa Fe “for its offensive display depicted by the re-enactment.”
Jennifer Marley, who was arrested during an Entrada protest last year, said she was “super happy” the event was ending.
“This is definitely a victory, and it’s one that I think belongs to the protesters and the people on the ground, people who put their bodies on the ground.” said Marley, a student at the University of New Mexico who is from San Ildefonso Pueblo.