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12 Arrested In Protests Of Conquistador Pageant In Santa Fe

Elaine Baumgartel/KUNM

Hundreds of people protested in downtown Santa Fe Friday, Sept. 8, calling for an end to a controversial Fiestas event called La Entrada. It's a re-enactment of Diego de Vargas' reconquest of the city after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. 

Native American activists and their allies see it as a celebration of genocide and have protested the event repeatedly over the years. This year marks the third in a row.

At the last minute Friday, city officials and event organizers moved up the Entrada’s schedule and it was held two hours earlier than originally planned. A Santa Fe city spokesman said he didn’t know if anyone other than event organizers and police had been told about the change.

During the performance, people in the audience exchanged insults, according to the Santa Fe Reporter, and soon after it was over, police tried to move protesters into a “free speech zone” behind police barriers.

Protesters were eventually cordoned off away from the plaza where they chanted "You celebrate Fiestas, you celebrate genocide" and "Abolish the Entrada!" 

They marched down nearby streets and one of the protest organizers, Jennifer Marley of The Red Nation and the UNM Kiva Club, was arrested. Here's a video shot by the Santa Fe Reporter

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Marley’s arrest and the tactics used by the Santa Fe Police Department during the protest have raised questions about the protesters’ free speech rights. Twelve people were arrested.

The demonstration continued near the plaza for several hours Friday afternoon, the chants dueling with the live music from the bandstand. KUNM spoke to some of the people milling about. 

AnnaMaria Cardinalli Padilla - I’m from Santa Fe, 18 generations from Santa Fe. And what brought me out today was to celebrate the 400 year history of the Intercession of Our Lady, I’m a Catholic, the Intercession of Our Lady to the return of this home that’s been my home and the home of Native peoples together for all these generations. 

Annette Baca - I’m a native Santa Fean, and we always grew up with Fiestas and it’s a tradition. I think the Native Americans have a right to protest, but they also have to see all the good that has come from everything and this is tradition. You can’t change the past. And we can’t forget where we came from. They have their cultures and we respect that as well. So, just respect our culture.

Brad Timerman - From Surprise, Arizona. Well, you see so much protesting around the whole country now and it’s totally not unexpected. But I guess, from 1680 until now, you would have thought a lot of this could be resolved one way or the other.

Charles Rosacre - I was born in Santa Fe, my parents and my wife’s parents were born just close to the Guadelupe church in Santa Fe. So we go back many years. And like many of us, we’re of mixed blood and the sooner we figure out that we are really one tribe, the better off we are going to be.

Donald Winfiel - The African Americans are trying to get rid of these things and histories that represent a part of their life that was really bad. And the Natives are saying the same thing here about Fiestas because these people are out here talking about how they conquered the Indians and took their land. That’s history now, and that’s where it should be, in the history museum, not out here on the street.

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