Activists gathered in a New Mexico town to celebrate Rio Arriba County officials’ decision to postpone plans to relocate a controversial statue of conquistador Juan de Oñate just outside the County Annex building Thursday morning in Española. Via the Albuquerque Journal:
But as Marley, an organizer for the Native American advocacy group The Red Nation, continued to speak, a scuffle broke out behind the people watching her. Someone called for all the children attending the rally to gather in the middle for their protection.
Several men were grappling with another man, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, who activists later said was trying to make his way to an altar set up on a pedestal where the Oñate was to be erected. Authorities later identified the man as 23-year-old Ryan Martinez of Sandia Park.
As people watching the scuffle yelled at the men to stop, Martinez broke free, hopped over a half-wall, pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired one shot, hitting a Native American man in the torso. Onlookers screamed and sprinted in the other direction.
So a man in a MAGA hat shot a Native protester. Seems like that should be bigger news, considering Trump fans are prone to violence!
The statue was originally taken down in 2020 from a spot in Alcalde, also in Rio Arriba County. But the statue has been a source of controversy since it was first erected almost three decades ago, with many seeing Oñate as a killer and enslaver of Pueblo peoples.
“He stood for violence, for genocide, for rape,” Marley said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “That point was proven today.”
In 1997, someone cut one foot off the statue, an act that harkened back to Oñate, following a revolt, having one foot of Acoma Pueblo men 25 or older cut off and sentencing them to two decades of “personal servitude,” according to the Office of the State Historian’s website.
You can see why someone who likes Trump would like this statue.