UNITED STATES NEWS

Man shot and wounded at New Mexico protest over installation of Spanish conquistador statue

Sep 28, 2023, 12:51 PM

ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) — A suspect was taken into custody after allegedly shooting and wounding a man at a protest Thursday in Española where officials had planned to install a statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate, authorities said.

A Rio Arriba County sheriff’s spokesman said the victim was shot in the chest or stomach and was in stable condition at a hospital. The names of the wounded man and the suspect were not immediately released.

The Albuquerque Journal reported there was a scuffle among activists protesting the installation of the statue.

Oñate, who arrived in present-day New Mexico in 1598, is celebrated as a cultural father figure in communities along the Upper Rio Grande that trace their ancestry to Spanish settlers. But he’s also reviled for his brutality.

To Native Americans, Oñate is known for having ordered the right feet cut off of 24 captive tribal warriors after his soldiers stormed Acoma Pueblo’s mesa-top “sky city.” That attack was precipitated by the killing of Onate’s nephew.

In 1998, someone sawed the right foot off the statue of Oñate near Española.

County officials originally planned to install the statue on Thursday but postponed the ceremony late Wednesday “in the interest of public safety.”

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Man shot and wounded at New Mexico protest over installation of Spanish conquistador statue