A few weeks ago the City of Santa Fe Arts and Parks department asked me to meet them by the monument on the plaza downtown. They wanted to know how long it would take to remove some of the plaques in the monument in the center of the plaza that have been a issue because of how they described native Indians as being savage. They were preparing for a protest that was going to happen the next day. This was about a week or less after a protest on a monument in Albuquerque of a person who was a brutal savage Spanish person who cut off the feet of Indians so they would not run away? That is just kind of sick that tax dollars paid for a monument of such a thug. The protest in Albuquerque got out of control, people were injured and one was even shot.
The city of Santa Fe wanted to look good and was considering having me cut the racist plaques out on the plaza monument and then put it back in so they could stage the mayor pulling it out. I told them I knew several native stone carvers that would be happy to help me. My first thought was that this could be a healing and then I thought it would probably get out of control. The city was in a time crunch and I told them it could take 4 to16 hrs. They decided this would be cutting it a little close and they decided to try and hire a reputable crane operator who did not want any part of it. They hired another crane operator who was only able to take off the top part.
The reason I am telling this story is that artists and the public really need to start thinking about what we are putting out there in the first place. Shouldn’t a monument about dead people or a dead person go in the cemetery instead of the plaza in Santa Fe, or a hill in old town Albuquerque? I don’t think we have a shortage history books to tell our history. Yes, history is often brutal, but why make art into something that honors brutal people or events? How about leaving people out of art because when we get over ourselves, that is when we have the most possibility to be the beautiful beings that we are.