The public version of the Entrada, a central tradition during the Santa Fe Fiesta in early September wherein actors perform a version of the region's reconquest by Spain, might effectively be over.
A resolution passed this month by the All Pueblo Council of Governors appears to confirm that city officials, the Fiesta Council and local Catholic church leaders have agreed the pageant won't take place this year on the Plaza. But it's unclear if all parties are as in step as the resolution suggests.
Meanwhile, two Pueblo organizers of energetic protests against the event over the last two years say they weren't involved in the decision, and aren't sure what is going to come next. The city also remains silent about the plan.
Anti-Entrada protests last year resulted in eight arrests, including one on felony charges. The ACLU of New Mexico criticized the Santa Fe Police Department for confining protesters to a "free speech zone" on behalf of the Fiesta Council, a private organization that puts on the event in the public space. Police snipers were posted up on rooftops above the Plaza.
The All Pueblo Council of Governors, an association that includes representatives from all the area's sovereign Pueblos, adopted a resolution on July 19 codifying months of closed-door negotiations. It says the council "felt compelled to action" after last year's pageant, which elicited an "over reaction of law enforcement with a full and militaristic response" that reopened old wounds.
The council developed a five-point negotiation plan last December where it demanded the Entrada "and associated script with pseudo Pueblo representatives cannot under no circumstances continue."
The plan also requested an apology from the Catholic Church for historic injustices committed against Pueblo people, a new proclamation celebrating "all cultures" that contribute to the region's identity, and that a Truth and Reconciliation commission be established to plan a new celebratory commemoration of the region's history.
And it asks the city of Santa Fe to commission a new public art piece for the Santa Fe Plaza that reflects "the spirit of peace as a gift to all future generations," the document says.
On July 11, the council's resolution says, Mayor Alan Webber, representative Allen Sanchez for the Santa Fe Archbishop, and representatives from the Santa Fe Fiesta Council and Los Caballeros de Vargas accepted the plan "in its entirety." The Caballeros write the script for the Entrada, while the Fiesta Council organizes the majority of Fiesta events.
But Melissa Mascarenas, this year's president of the Fiesta Council, tells SFR she hasn't personally seen the resolution.
"I have not agreed, and I have not put my signature on anything, and as far as I've been told, we're not supposed to speak with the press," Mascarenas says.
City leaders including Mayor Webber have been tight-lipped about the negotiations taking place in recent months. Last week, city spokesman Matt Ross referred SFR's questions about the Entrada to former Cochiti Pueblo Governor Regis Pecos, whom Ross says the parties designated their official spokesman.
Pecos sent the following email to SFR:
"They did pass a Resolution but there is more to it and not just replacing one thing with another. It is more comprehensive," Pecos wrote. "The matters are sensitive and I am working with the Mayor's office, the Fiesta Council representatives, the Caballeros and the Archdiocese. I hope you can be patient as we communicate with all parties before we go public. This has taken many months of respectful and principled discussions."
APCG Chairman Edward Paul Torres' authorizing signature is missing from a copy of the resolution obtained by SFR, but other reports indicate he signed it.
A July 20 Facebook status by Patricia Trujillo, a member of Tewa Women United and director of equity and diversity at Northern New Mexico College, said that Ohkay Owingeh Lt. Governor Matthew Martinez presented the resolution at a gathering at the school on July 19 and that it had been signed the next day.
Some activists involved in organizing protests against the Entrada felt left out of the decision.
Elana Ortiz of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, a lead protest organizer against the Entrada in recent years, found out about the agreement from Trujillo's Facebook post. She tells SFR she was unhappy that protesters weren't included, but felt good about the resolution.
"[I]f this resolution is going to be followed by all parties, it's great," says Ortiz in a text message. "It covers most of our demands. The only exception, and it's a big one to me, is getting the Fiesta Court out of the public schools."
Another organizer, Jennifer Marley, a student at the University of New Mexico who is from San Ildefonso Pueblo, says that while the event appears to be a "powerful move" from the Pueblo Council, it is essentially "following" the lead of her and others who have been at the forefront of the protests. At last year's event, Marley was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, all of which were dropped months later.
"What's unfortunate," she tells SFR, "is that the organizers of the protest, the Red Nation, the abolishing the Entrada coalition, have not been contacted to be part of any of these conversations, and in fact [the All Pueblo Council of Governors] has been actively avoiding us."
Marley says she was already making preparations to protest this year's Entrada when she heard the surprise announcement. She says she will still protest even if the event is moved to a private location.
"If it does happen, it's going to be something that Los Caballeros do on their own," she explains, "which we would still show up [to protest] if they did do that."