Updated: July 29, 2020 06:47 PM
Created: July 29, 2020 05:43 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- State Senator Linda Lopez wants Kit Carson Elementary to be renamed.
Kit Carson helped the United States expand west.
Rob Martinez, a state historian, said the frontiersman wasn't just known for expansion, but for his mistreatment of Native Americans.
"He was said to have killed and scalped his first Native American at age 19," Martinez said.
Kit Carson reportedly forced Native Americans from their home during the Long Walk of the Navajo.
"It was a brutal process, he forced men, women and children to walk hundreds of miles in freezing cold and be kept in very inhumane conditions," Martinez said.
It's for those reasons, Lopez does not believe Kit Carson should be glorified.
"I can only imagine when you walk in, and they know their history, is to say 'wow, here we're revering someone who killed my family members,'" Carson said.
Lopez, who represents the southwest quadrant of Bernalillo County, believes there are better people the school can be named after.
"We have many heros, heroins, sheros, here in our own community and when you name a school after someone it's out of reverence and appreciation for what they've done for the community," Lopez said.
Lopez is starting a panel to begin the conversation to change the school's name.
After the panel reviews history and develops a presentation, students and parents will be sent a petition.
"I think this also affords us the opportunity to have a conversation and educate our community about exactly who Kit Carson was," Lopez said.
If the petition gets 60% approval from staff and families, it will go before the school board for final approval.
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