SANTA FE – The signing of a proclamation committing the community to working toward forgiveness and reconciliation, and a new event replacing the controversial Entrada pageant that will celebrate faith will be held next week on the opening day of the Fiesta de Santa Fe, city government announced on Wednesday.
Following three years of growing protests by Native American groups and others who view the Entrada – a re-enactment of the Spanish resettlement of Santa Fe 12 years after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 – as revisionist history and racist, the event was scrapped and will be replaced by what will be called Celebración de la Communidad de Fe (Celebration of Community Faith).
That event, to be held Friday, Sept. 7, at 2 p.m., the traditional time slot for the Entrada performance, will begin with prayers from pueblo representatives and be followed by more prayers from members of Santa Fe’s Interfaith Leadership Alliance, all focusing on peace and reconciliation.
There will also be a blessing by Archbishop John Wester of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Those gathered will be invited to sing hymns that carry a message of peace and unity, according to a city news release.
The city, with the All Pueblo Council of Governors, the Fiesta Council, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and Los Caballeros de Vargas, the group that has staged the Entrada performance, were all involved in formulating the new event replacing the Entrada. An agreement to drop Entrada was announced last month.
“By our collective courage, we resolved ourselves to acknowledge the plan and the suffering inherent in the first encounters,” said E. Paul Torres, chairman of the All Pueblo Council. “This is a time when we refused to accept the threats of division that could have destroyed the spirit of our beloved homelands. Instead, we chose to take the high road to resolve our issues in the name of peace.”
Torres credited Thomas Baca-Gutierrez and Melissa Mascareñas, presidents of the Los Caballeros de Vargas and the Fiesta Council, respectively, for their courage and leadership, and Regis Pecos, a former governor of Cochiti Pueblo, for moderating negotiations to change the program.
Prior to the new celebration, a proclamation that “acknowledges the history of Santa Fe, recognizes shared values, and commits the community to the hard work of forgiveness and reconciliation” will be held in the courtyard of the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, which is dedicated to two Tesuque Pueblo runners who spread word of the Pueblo Revolt.
In an interview, Mayor Alan Webber called a meeting of the various parties involved in the Entrada negotiations Wednesday “an amazing emotional experience” that included tears.
“This was a choice by this community to pursue peace and reconciliation in an historic way, with all parties agreeing on the core values that we share,” he said.
The Fiesta events will kick off a month of programs, events and initiatives to bring unity to the community, culminating in the city’s Indigenous Peoples Day celebration on Oct. 8, according to the news release.