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Let's talk about history, culture, trauma, and monuments

The description of Kit Carson on a monument dedicated to him in Santa Fe.
The description of Kit Carson on a monument dedicated to him in Santa Fe.

Let’s Talk New Mexico 10/20 8am: On Indigenous Peoples’ Day this year there were protests in Santa Fe much like those that took down the Soldiers’ Monument obelisk on the plaza two years ago. This time a monument to Kit Carson, the controversial Indian Agent and frontiersman, was targeted with red and yellow paint. The Soldiers’ Monument, with a plaque referring to “savage Indians” is still stored away by the city and a plywood box protects its pedestal in the Santa Fe Plaza while leaders and citizens discuss what to do with it. In Albuquerque and Alcalde, statues dedicated to Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate were removed two years ago before they could be torn down by protesters.

While statues have been the targets of groups who have suffered hundreds of years of oppression, they are just objects that represent people and ideas that those with more power desire to memorialize. On the next Let’s Talk New Mexico we’ll discuss clashes over historical (mis)understandings, the harm and hurt felt today from historical trauma, and efforts to make good in an age of awareness and equity.

Do you think we can celebrate Spanish heritage in New Mexico fairly? Does the past treatment of Indigenous peoples make you hesitant to join in on fiestas that highlight Spanish culture? What would equity in our historical understandings look like and how might that change our current lifeways in New Mexico? Share your ideas by emailing LetsTalk@kunm.org, tweeting #letstalkNM or calling in live during the show.



This episode is part of our Your New Mexico Government project, a collaboration between KUNM radio and New Mexico PBS. Support for public media provided by the Thornburg Foundation.

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Kaveh Mowahed is a reporter with KUNM who follows government, public health and housing. Send story ideas to kaveh@kunm.org.
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