SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A northern New Mexico town will no longer organize an annual commemoration of the arrival of Spanish conquistador Juan de Onate, leaving the pageant and carnival to an independent group.
Espanola Mayor Javier Sanchez confirmed Wednesday a unanimous city council vote to repeal the local government’s obligation to organize the festival.
The celebration includes a costumed procession of an armored Onate on horseback with a coterie of soldiers, royalty, Christian friars and an Indian scout.
Onate is revered as a Hispanic founding father and reviled for brutality against Native Americans.
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Sanchez says the decision opens the way for the city to involve more people including local Native Americans in new cultural celebrations.
Local leaders including city councilor John Ramon Vigil hope a nonprofit group can continue the Onate tribute.