The action we did at the 2015 Fiesta de Santa Fe was intended to respectfully raise awareness around the false narrative that the Fiesta Council continues to share every year. They believe including a few Native peoples is adequate, but we believe the entire story needs to be adjusted to reflect more of what truly happened and the long-standing impact the conquest has had on the people in this state.
I was not surprised when the City Council was incapable of following through on their plans to hold a symposium. Councilor Joseph Maestas said it was an overreaction. He even insinuated that racism is not a problem in Santa Fe. I find it appalling that a City Councilman can be so ignorant of what his constituents face on a daily basis. But, his reaction is a prime example of how racism still exists here, and how the effects of colonization still permeate our community.
I love Fiesta de Santa Fe as a community celebration. But, the City government invests time, money, and resources into this religious celebration, and because this story is told time and again in the schools, the narrative must change. It needs to be historically accurate. The Fiesta Council and the Caballeros need to be pro-active in making amends. It is not the responsibility of the oppressed to continually demand change.
I don’t know of any specific plans for another action this year. But, unless the Fiesta Council and Caballeros do something, they can expect that actions will happen again, and they will become more overt and in their face.
This week, in the ABQ Journal, Mayor Gonzales said the Fiesta Council has agreed to meet with reps from Tesuque Pueblo “in the wake of an ongoing conversation that has included protests at Fiestas by Native Americans in recent years.”
And he said he’ll introduce a proposed City Council resolution to recognize the second Monday of October – traditionally, the Columbus Day holiday – as Indigenous People’s Day in Santa Fe, not just this year but for “every October.”
I can only hope that the City and Fiesta Council will follow through this time.
EDIT: Looks like an action IS planned. Facebook event here.