On grounds not generally considered, I believe identifying Juan de Oñate in the popular sense is inappropriate anyway (“Our view: Done with Oñate,” June 25).
Though Oñate sought to colonize the new territory in a sense, his assigned primary role, “Conquistador,” was to find gold (riches), conquer, convert and enslave any further Maya/Aztec types encountered.
The 400 settlers he came with were primarily the families of his troops, not really, “settlers” looking for a new home to escape persecution from Spain or anything of the sort. His objective was in the interest of setting up remote outposts from which he could launch expeditions to search for gold or other treasures to return to Spain.
He was stripped and humiliated by the Spanish courts for his atrocities and not revered in any sense popularly glorified today. Unlike the pilgrim settlers on the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, none of the 400 settlers befits the notion. The whole Christopher Columbus pose and historically invoked interpretation of the Oñate statue just doesn’t cut the mustard, boss!