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Anson Stevens-Bollen

Letters to the Editor


July 18, 2017, 12:00 am

News, July 5: “Entrada Trouble”

Glorified Myths

The annual celebration of the De Vargas Entrada to the Santa Fe Plaza celebrates a lie, a glorified myth. The Entrada was far from bloodless. According to Spanish documents, the reconquest claimed the lives of 81 “rebels” and in the aftermath another 70 were publicly executed. Two committed suicide rather than submit to Spanish oppression. The reenactment yearly as De Vargas enters the Plaza accompanied by Our Lady of the Conquest, and as Native people submit on their knees, is pure fantasy.

The Pueblo people revolted in 1680 because the Catholic church imposed its doctrines backed by sword and cannon. Early Spanish chronicles describe the Native religions as blasphemous devil worship, when in fact the Natives simple celebrated nature where mankind was equal to plant and animal. Dance and ritual reenacted the forces of nature petitioning rain in a desert environment. Religious leaders were tortured and executed by the conquerors while Natives were enslaved to build massive churches and serve a corrupt clergy.

The reconquest of 1692 was followed by the abandonment of many villages, the refugees migrating westward to flee oppression. The Tewas launched an unsuccessful revolt in 1696, their leader beheaded by the De Vargas army in Santa Clara Canyon.

Such brutality should never be celebrated. Let the truth be known.

Douglas Johnson
Santa Fe

But They Have Casinos

While no one denies that New Mexico’s European early beginnings were fraught with abuses and danger, let us also know that these times were filled with wars and conquests, thus, let us now put this in proper historical perspective:

In Europe, Spain itself was coming out of an brutal 800-year conquest period by Arabic Moors—other Europeans were engaged in … wars against each other, as were the Natives in the Americas. …

The only Europeans in those early times to bring Christianization of Natives along with colonization were the Spanish who came to New Mexico. No other Europeans brought so many priests and official laws established to protect Natives as did the Spanish; however, in this dangerous, remote frontier, these laws were sometimes disregarded.

Yet, in more modern times, it was the votes of NM Hispanic legislators, along with the tie-breaking vote by an Hispana legislator, that gave New Mexico’s Native Indians their greatest economic opportunities to date—”casino gaming,” and many related businesses—so the majority of their customers are local Hispanics.

Thus we move on to today’s Veiled Lightning situation and its possible implications that could lead to dangerous encounters, distrust and rancor among centuries-long friendly neighbors. … Another factor to consider, the proper avenue for Pueblo Natives to complain is through their elected governors, and not through the whims driven by outsider Kiva Club and Red Nation activist protesters. …

New Mexico Hispanos have not been known to rudely interrupt Po’Pay Native American ceremonies, or others such. So let’s allow our leaders to work together in peace and harmony, without these distractions, to bring honest, thoughtful solutions.

Elmer Maestas
Santa Fe

News, July 5: “Religion, Politics and Money”

For Real Tho, Anson

As much as I enjoyed the article, which was very timely, I really enjoyed the cartoon by Anson Stevens-Bollen. That cartoon was the best—even better than the cartoons that were part of the political cartoon contest. “Baby” Trump’s tiny hands and lack of a specific piece of male anatomy were perfect!

Monica Steidele
Santa Fe

News, July 5: “Kid Sister”

Sardine Market

I think [the International Folk Art Market] has outgrown the current venue. After two visits in separate years with visitors from out of town, I doubt I will return. We experienced long waits in the hot sun for the shuttle going, long waits in people-crowded stalls to even get close to the art, waits to have our purchase written up, long lines to pay, long waits to pick up our purchase after paying and long waits for the return shuttle. The quality of the folk art and artists is undeniable; viewing the art and actually making a purchase is an uncomfortable and unnecessary marathon. Then again, maybe they’re trying to get everyone to buy the $75 early bird tickets?

Doug Smith
Santa Fe


Cover, June 28: “Paper Genocide”

Not Good for NM

Your story about urban Native American health funding problems was timely; yet another episode of history of mistreatment of our Native citizens, though in this case due to mismanagement and inattention, rather than mean intent.

Sadly, it also demonstrates the devastating impact the Republican UN-health care proposal (Trumpcare) will have on New Mexicans.

The 135,000 Native Americans who depend on expanded Medicaid funding to make up for inadequate IHS funding are part of the 785,000 New Mexicans who are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP (a 71 percent increase in the last few years as a result of Obamacare). Most of those New Mexicans will be squeezed out of Medicaid if Trumpcare is passed, because it includes cuts of $800 billion nationwide to the Medicaid expansion that is critical part of Obamacare.

We are lucky that in Senators Udall and Heinrich and Congressman Lujan, we have three of the most knowledgeable members of Congress about health care. It is time for all of us to urge them to continue their fight to stop Trumpcare that will do so much harm to New Mexicans.

Robert H Lurcott
Santa Fe

Opera, July 3: “Die Fledermaus Review”

A Series of Tubes

Every year I return to this wonderful city for summers of art and opera. One of my pleasures is reading John Stege’s review of the opera and other musical events in the Reporter. What has happened? There is no review. Have you run out of paper or ink? We who love excellent writing and fair criticism long to read a Stege review. Help me, please.

Jane A Wetzel
Santa Fe

Editor’s Note: In addition to our weekly print edition, SFR is always breaking news and providing extended web extras online. You miss out by sticking just with our physical paper! We encourage all of our readers to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (or, if you like making things hard for yourself, check our website daily), where you can find our summer opera coverage as well as syndicated columns and additional quality content that we just don’t have room for in print.


When printing the winners of our 2017 Political Cartoon Contest (July 5), we incorrectly atttributed a drawing of Donald Trump as a clown. The correct artist is Tom Leech. SFR regrets the error.

SFR will correct factual errors online and in print. Please let us know if we make a mistake, or 988-7530.

Mail letters to PO Box 2306, Santa Fe, NM 87504, deliver to 132 E Marcy St., or email them to Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.


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