The American Civil Liberties Union is investigating whether civil rights were violated after several protesters were arrested during ‘Entrada’ festivities in New Mexico.
‘Entrada’ is somewhat controversial due to its purpose and roots.
The festival celebrates the return of Spanish conquistadors to New Mexico in the 17th century after a Native American revolt in the region.
Santa Fe Police filed trespassing charges against the eight protesters, with another facing an additional charge of battery on an officer.
The man arrested on battery charges allegedly ‘struck’ two police officers with a sign while attempting to bypass them and march toward Santa Fe Plaza.
A crowd of protesters had been marching toward the plaza while waving signs and shouting slogans.
“Slay! Slay! Slay like Po’Pay!” they yelled, according to The Santa Fe New Mexican. The chant referred to Ohkay Owengeh’s Po’Pay, who led the revolt in 1680 against Spanish rule in the region.
Twelve years after the Pueblo Revolt, Vargas returned with soldiers to restore Spanish supremacy.
Those who object to Entrada say the festival’s problem is that it depicts Vargas’ return to Santa Fe as a peaceful event, when, in reality, it may have involved a mass slaughter.
While supporters and participants of Entrada say the festival was meant to honor their Spanish roots as well as reconciliation between the Roman Catholic conquistadors and their native subjects, others have blasted the celebration for turning a blind eye toward history.
Activists, according to US News, say Entrada obscures the cruelty Spanish conquistador Don Diego de Vargas inflicted on the native Pueblo Indian peoples as he stamped out resistance to the crown’s rule in what is now modern-day New Mexico.
The small protests occur annually, in conjunction with Entrada, but drew additional attention in light of the violent confrontation between members of the alt-right and far-left Antifa in Charlottesville in August.
Shortly before the Charlottesville protest was set to begin, a 20-year old man associated with the alt-right and neo-Nazi movement rammed a sports car into a crowd of counter-protesters, injuring 19 and killing one.
Despite the regular controversy raised between opponents of Entrada and its supporters, many were still pleased that the protest in Santa Fe was largely peaceful, with the arrests not resulting from any violent engagements.