Oñate statue to return to public view next week

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ESPANOLA, N.M. — A controversial statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate will have a new home, starting next week.

The statue of Oñate on horseback once stood in Alcalde, N.M. At the height of the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, the statue was removed and hasn’t gone back up.

The monument will go back up in public in Española, beginning with a rededication ceremony Thursday, September 28. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. in the courtyard of the Rio Arriba County Complex.

The Oñate statue has been a point of contention, even before 2020.

In 1998, someone sawed off the right foot. The whereabouts of the foot remained a mystery until it reappeared in 2020.

Rio Arriba County leaders believe they can keep the statue safe from further vandalism as it will be right by the sheriff’s office.