March 02, 2008

Jamestown, Oklahoma, and now Santa Fe

Another anniversary involving Indians, another reason not to celebrate.

My view:  Puebloans should not approve 400th partyRegarding Santa Fe's cuartocentenario preparations: No amount of fanfare could ever reconcile the atrocities of the Spanish colonizers.

In retrospect, the colonization was brutal—not an intriguing experience to commemorate in front of a national and international audience as stated in the Dec. 21, 2007 editorial, "Signs of progress on our cuartocentenario."

The cuartocentenario won't address the impact of Spanish colonialism 400 years after the colonization and its ramifications on the Pueblo people today.

In 1620, by royal decree of the king of Spain, groups of pueblo governors and officials were instituted into a civil government that the Spaniards could control and assimilate into the Spanish institutions.

As pueblo people, we have never asked ourselves why we celebrate these Catholic feast days—to honor whom? Is it the legacies of Spanish colonialism? The impact of fear and brainwashing became a part of life. In order to continue to live and practice our traditional beliefs, the Spanish forced us to convert to Catholicism and gave the pueblos Spanish canes to reinforce this subjugation. A life of servitude to the Spanish sovereign and the Roman Catholic Church is still practiced today. These institutions were designed to make us servants through indoctrination, abandoning our free will for a life of servitude.
Santa Fe was founded in 1607 or 1608, according to the following posting. Apparently the city has chosen 1608 as the date. Here's why the local tribes may not want to celebrate:

An Uncertain Founding:  Santa FeJuan de Oñate established New Mexico as an entrepreneurial colony, one that was intended to make him a profit. The presence of the Pueblo Indians gave the colony a good financial basis, because Oñate was given the privilege of dividing the products of their pueblos among the military leaders of the colony, in an arrangement called encomienda. This gave the leaders an income that allowed them to each support a troop of armed militiamen and their horses, which would provide the protection of the new colony. Oñate expected to find the so-far-unlocated golden cities of Gran Quivira, and to make a huge profit from taking this gold and tracking down the mines from which it came. "I trust in God that I shall give your majesty a new world, greater than New Spain," he wrote to the viceroy. Such success had happened before in the eighty years between the conquest of Mexico and the conquest of New Mexico–Oñate confidently expected it to happen again, with himself and his followers as beneficiaries.Basically, Oñate turned the Indians into serfs at best, slaves at worst. But he's most (in)famous for what he did 10 years earlier:

Juan de OñateThat summer his party continued up the Rio Grande to present-day northern New Mexico, where he encamped among the Pueblo Indians. He founded the province of Santa Fé de Nuevo México and became the province's first governor. Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá, a captain of the expedition, chronicled Oñate’s conquest of New Mexico’s indigenous peoples in his epic Historia de Nuevo México (1610). Oñate soon gained a reputation as a stern ruler of both the Spanish colonists and the indigenous people. In October of 1598, a skirmish erupted when Oñate's occupying Spanish military demanded supplies from the Acoma tribe--demanding things essential to the Acoma surviving the winter. The Acoma resisted and thirteen Spaniards were killed, amongst them Don Juan Oñate’s nephew. In 1599, Oñate retaliated; his soldiers killed 800 villagers. They enslaved the remaining 500 women and children, and by Don Juan’s decree, they amputated the left foot of every Acoma man over the age of twenty-five. Eighty men had their left foot amputated.Comment:  Oñate is a prime example of a European who knew he was doing evil but did it anyway. Whenever someone claims the Europeans didn't know any better, you can offer his crimes as a response.

For more on the subject, see Those Evil Europeans.

P.S. For those who aren't familiar with the Pueblos, note that they call themselves Puebloans, not Pueblans.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
They may call themselves whatever they wish, Taos, Taosians, or even Pueblanistas. They're mightily going to be upset, therefore, when they read writerfella's "Fifth And Last Horseman" when it is published later this year in RED SKIN Magazine! Alas...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

They'll be upset because you used the wrong word for "people of the Pueblos"? Why? The mistake doesn't harm them, and it only makes you look ignorant.

So far there's no evidence that Redskin magazine is anything more than a dream. Are you just fantasizing that it's going to publish your story? Or do you have a commitment from an editor?