Monuments to Spanish conquerors teeter in New Mexico

New Mexico

This bronze statue of Don Juan de Onate leading a group of Spanish settlers from an area near what is now Ciudad Chihuahua, Mexico, to what was then the northern most province of New Spain in 1598 stands outside the Albuquerque Museum in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday, June 12, 2020. The collection of statues, which includes an indigenous guide, a priest, women settlers and soldiers, is titled “La Jornada.” Two public statues of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate in New Mexico are drawing renewed attention and criticism as memorials erected in honor of Confederate leaders and other historical figures worldwide become a focus of protests. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Statues of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate are confronting a new wave of criticism in New Mexico as an affront to indigenous people and an obstacle to greater racial harmony.

The Red Nation advocacy group for Native American rights planned a protest Monday to urge authorities to remove a statue of Oñate on horseback outside a cultural center in the community of Alcalde.

A demonstration also was planned in Albuquerque at another bronze Oñate likeness that is part of a caravan of Spanish colonists outside a city museum.

Oñate is both reviled for his brutality and revered as a cultural father figure. 

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