SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s now up to people in Santa Fe to decide which historic markers belonging to the city they find offensive. The city put together a list of all its statues, murals and monuments and it wants your opinions on them.
Everyone has different opinions on how to honor the city’s Native American and Spanish roots, but the list goes way beyond those two cultures.
From war heroes to prisoners of war, pieces of Santa Fe’s rich history can be found in the center of the city and off the beaten path.
“Over the thousands of years to building something here that is really unique and it’s something we’re really proud of,” said city of Santa Fe spokesperson Matt Ross.
The city has just completed a review of all the historical markers funded by the city.
“Hundreds, hundreds of items. There is about three pages worth of monuments and almost as many special events,” Ross said.
It was an effort that started in response to the violent protests in Charlottesville.
“We’re not always conscious of how we are talking about our history and the complex interplay of race that goes along with that,” Ross said.
City staff has counted murals, monuments and even events. The majority of the list is rooted in Native American and Spanish culture.
Some have already been at the root of controversies like the statue of Don Diego de Vargas and the Entrada at the Fiesta de Santa Fe.
However, the list doesn’t just cover Spanish and Native American history.
“You forget about things or you learn about things you didn’t know were there. Someone like me, I had no idea that there was a Japanese internment camp in Santa Fe during World War II,” Ross said.
Another unique monument, the Homage to the Burro Monument, honoring the history of burro carts and wood-gathering.
There’s also a newer monument honoring Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry who fought in Afghanistan. The city made sure to include them all.
“We weren’t trying to make any judgment calls whatsoever. We were trying to cast as wide a net as possible from unbiased of a stance as possible,” Ross said.
Instead, they want honest feedback from the community.
“I think the intention is to be more conscious about the way we tell our story the way we celebrate our history,” Ross said.
City officials say it’s too early in the process to talk about removal of any of these monuments. They will be taking input from the public through the end of the year.
Right now, the comments that have been made about each monument have not been made public. That will happen next year when the final report is presented to city council.