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Commentary :: Organizing
Support the people of Acoma and their struggle against Oñate
13 Aug 2004
Support the people of Native people of Acoma Pueblo and their struggle against Conquistador Oñate
Protest the construction of Oñate monument in El Paso, Texas

(Please see the suggested action at the end of this document)



Contact: swia_nm (at) yahoo.com



SWIA Proclamation



Forced colonization of any Peoples throughout the history of mankind is marked
by similarities of force and violence with no regard or respect to existing Indigenous
cultures. The Spanish colonization was likewise...brutal and savage. Don Juan de Oñate
and his heavily armed expedition annihilated whole Native villages, while plundering
and looting many more. Lust for land, wealth and conversion of the Indigenous peoples
to Christianity were Oñates' motivations, and these motivations were fueled by greed and violence.



Terrorism reigned as the soldiers, accompanied by Franciscan Friars, murdered citizens, forcefully
confiscated lands and imposed a foreign system of religious belief upon our People. The Spaniards
considered us godless and barbaric, but we held on to a beautiful belief system which has sustained
us for thousands of years and continues to sustain us to this day. Our religion, precious and sacred,
was never abandoned. Our People were told that our beliefs were wrong and were violently forced to
accept Christianity. Yet, from the very beginning of forced occupation, the People resisted.



In December of 1598, Acoma warriors resisted this terrorism and defended the land and people in a
battle, which ended with the death of Oñate's nephew and 10 Spanish soldiers. In retribution of his
nephew's death, Oñate attacked the village on the rock mesa of Acoma in the bitter cold of January 1599.



This epic battle lasted 3 days resulting in the slaughter of hundreds of Acoma men, women and children.
On?ate, true to the barbaric nature of his rule, executed the Acoma leaders. He cut off the right foot of every
male over 25 years of age, and sentenced women over 25 years of age to 25 years of slavery. For these barbaric
acts, along with his ineptitude as a leader, Oñate was sentenced by the Spanish Crown to perpetual banishment
from New Mexico and exiled for four years from Mexico City.



In August of 1680, surrounding Indigenous villages, now bearing the Spanish label "Pueblo", were joined by
Navajo (Dine) and Apache Peoples in a revolt against the Catholic Church and Spanish oppression. The Pueblo
Revolt of 1680 drove the intruders from New Mexico. The action was absolute, with every attempt made to destroy
all things of foreign origin, including churches and government buildings. The People then bathed in the rivers to
cleanse themselves of Christian baptism.



For 12 years, the territory known as New Mexico was restored to its original occupants, and the land was void of
Conquistador presence. The world, and especially New Mexico, should acknowledge this victory over terrorism
and oppression and honor Pope, the leader of this heroic achievement.



We hear the question over and over again, "Why can't we just let it go and move on?" In an ideal world, all peoples
would work together to heal old wounds and mend a broken world. However, the Conquistador mindset still exists in
the Southwest. The healing has not occurred. Monuments such as "La Entrada" here in Old Town and the El Paso
Oñate project continue to commemorate and celebrate the theft of indigenous homelands. Words like "settlement",
"political and cultural contact", "land transfer", "land grant assignments", "recognition of cultural heritage" are
examples of hypocritical and political doublespeak. It is precisely this mindset, which must change before all peoples
can unite in the healing process.



The City of Albuquerque and the City of El Paso, Texas have announced plans to erect monuments in an attempt to
glorify a savage and violent time in history. In Albuquerque a 60-foot monument, scheduled for 2004 at the Albuquerque
Museum, has been rationalized as "recognition of cultural heritage". Currently in El Paso, work is being done on a monstrous
bronze to honor Juan de Oñate. The statue, designed to be 4 ½ stories high, and if completed will be the largest cast bronze
in North America. Proponents of the statue say it is to promote tourism and to bring money to downtown El Paso. It is
significant to note that Oñate's motivation was personal greed and wealth. The present motivation behind the El Paso
monument is still money. Sadly, nothing has changed in the last 400 years.



Planners of the Albuquerque La Entrada project have chosen to ignore objections from those who protest the glorification
of a Spaniard who epitomizes the Euro-American process of subjugation, genocide of Indigenous Peoples and theft of our
homelands. This is the same discriminatory and racist mindset that ignores public outcry and continues to push for a road
through the Petroglyphs, a sacred Indigenous site.



In an effort to educate the citizens of Albuquerque, the Southwest Indigenous Alliance presents a brief accounting of Juan
de Oñate's trail of terror through the land now called New Mexico. It must be stressed that Oñate was not the first to settle
the area. The land was settled and had been settled by the People for thousands of years prior to his arrival. If Oñate is to
be given credit for anything, he must be given credit for theft of the land. The People were here. They were already here.
The Southwest, because of its "Conquistador attitude", will remain backward and narrow-minded, until its governing
bodies recognize the validity of indigenous concerns and stop the idealization and promotion of the terrorists in our history.
With this, We the Southwest Indigenous Alliance, present the following demands:



1. That the City of Albuquerque renounces its plans to erect a monument to Juan de Oñate in any public space.
The City will serve as a positive influence upon the social conscience of El Paso, TX in an effort to dissuade that
city from erecting an Oñate statue.

2. That the State of New Mexico permanently abandons all future plans to commemorate and honor Conquistadors.

3. That schoolbooks and official literature, recounting the history of New Mexico and promoting New Mexico,
be revised to stress the remarkable achievements of the Revolt of 1680 and to credit the Resistance of the People.
These revisions will present a true and balanced accounting of the past and portray the Indigenous point of view
of the Oñate expedition.



In this new day, all over this continent, Indigenous Alliances are being formed. Cultures are uniting and, in this way, may
we know that we are not alone in our Resistance to Racism. May the City Councils of Albuquerque and El Paso and
the State of New Mexico know that our voices will be heard.





El Paso and Albuquerque Officials Addresses and E-mails

-----------------------------------------------------------------------



City Council of El Paso, TX

2 Civic Center Plaza, 10th Floor
El Paso, Tx 79901



Susan Austin district#1 (at) elpasotexas.gov

Robert A. Cushing district#2 (at) elpasotexas.gov

J. Alexandro Lozano district#3 (at) elpasotexas.gov

John Cook district#4 (at) elpasotexas.gov

Daniel S. Power district#5 (at) elpasotexas.gov

Paul J. Escobar district#6 (at) elpasotexas.gov

Vivian Rojas district#7 (at) elpasotexas.gov

Anthony W. Cobos district#8 (at) elpasotexas.gov



Mayor Joe Wardley mayor (at) elpasotexas.gov

2 Civic Center Plaza

El Paso, Texas 79901

915 541 4145 phone

915 541 4501 fax

Laura M. Uribarri uribarrilm (at) elpasotexas.gov
Executive Assistant to the Mayor
(915) 541-4145 phone
(915) 541-4501 fax

Adrian Ocegueda oceguedaa (at) elpasotexas.gov
Executive Assistant to the Mayor
(915) 541-4145 phone
(915) 541-4501 fax

Delia M. Cortinas cortinasdm (at) elpasotexas.gov
Administrative Assistant to the Mayor
(915) 541-4145 phone
(915) 541-4501 fax

City Council of Albuquerque
Government Center
1 Civic Plaza NW, City Council Room 9087
Albuquerque NM 97102
Telephone: (505) 768-3100
Office Fax: (505) 768-3227

Miguel A. Gómez mgomez (at) cabq.gov
Debbie O'Malley domalley (at) cabq.gov
Eric Griego, Vice-President egriego (at) cabq.gov
Brad Winter bwinter (at) cabq.gov
Michael J. Cadigan, President mcadigan (at) cabq.gov
Martin Heinrich mheinrich (at) cabq.gov
Sally Mayer smayer (at) cabq.gov
Craig Loy cloy (at) cabq.gov
Tina Cummins tcummins (at) cabq.gov

Mayor Martin Chavez mayor (at) cabq.gov

Office of the Mayor
PO Box 1293
Albuquerque, NM 87103

Phone: (505) 768-3000
Fax: (505) 768-3019


Mayor's Scheduling Assistant, Renie Carmona rcarmona (at) cabq.gov
Chief Administrative Officer James Lewis, jlewis (at) cabq.gov
Chief Operating Officer Diana Dorn-Jones ddorn-jones (at) cabq.gov
Chief Financial Officer Gail Reese, greese (at) cabq.gov
Chief Public Safety Officer Nick Bakas, nbakas (at) cabq.gov
Communications Officer Deborah James, djames (at) cabq.gov





Sample Letter to city Albuquerque officials:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------





Dear ____________,



I oppose the celebration of conquistadors because of their negative impact on Native people. I am specifically concerned about the following:



· The planned installation of a 60 foot tall monument, at the Albuquerque Museum, which seems to
honor the theft of native lands by conquistadors in the name of the Spanish Crown.

· The commissioning of a massive 4 ½ story high bronze statute of Don Juan Oñate, funded by the
City of El Paso, Texas.

· The 300th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of Albuquerque



From a tribal perspective these commemorations are viewed as theft of home lands not as “settlement.”



Every ethnicity and nationality has its right to have pride in its histories. However alternatives must be found to
express this pride without demeaning or debasing other people.



Thank you for your time and attention in the important matter.



I look forward to you reply,





________________________





Sample Letter to city El Paso officials

-----------------------------------------------------------------------





Dear ____________,



I oppose the celebration of conquistadors because of their negative impact on Native people. I am specifically concerned about the following:



· The planned installation of a 60 foot tall monument, at the Albuquerque Museum, which seems to honor the theft
of native lands by conquistadors in the name of the Spanish Crown.

· The commissioning of a massive 4 ½ story high bronze statute of Don Juan Oñate, funded by the City of El Paso,
Texas.



From a tribal perspective these commemorations are viewed as theft of home lands not as “settlement.”



Every ethnicity and nationality has its right to have pride in its histories. However alternatives must be found to express this
pride without demeaning or debasing other people.



Thank you for your time and attention in the important matter.



I look forward to you reply,





________________________

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