City councilors propose new resolution to rebuild Santa Fe Plaza obelisk
SANTA FE, N.M. – A group of Santa Fe city councilors want to take the remaining pieces of the old obelisk and build a new one, one that highlights the divisions that brought the monument down in the first place.
“This is part of our history, what happened is part of our history,” said Carol Romero-Wirth, a Santa Fe city councilor. “And we want to tell the story of what happened to it.”
Romero-Wither and city councilor Renne Villarreal say the future of the soldier’s monument shouldn’t ignore the past.
“We can use this as a teaching tool as a, you know, it’s a living almost museum piece,” said Romero-Wirth.
The obelisk was violently torn down in October 2020. It was an act of protest against the 150-year-old monument dedicated to the quote “heroes who have fallen in the various battles with savage Indians.”
A large wooden box has covered the remains to this day – a visual wound waiting to be healed.
“I think it is realistic to acknowledge we have had a fractured history, and that’s really representative of what we’re trying to show,” said Villarreal.
Their proposed resolution wants to redesign, and rebuild the obelisk with contrasting materials to forever show where it was fractured.
Four new plaques would also reframe what the monument stands for.
“It’s not about reconstructing, it’s about re-envisioning what used to be there,” Villarreal said.
The councilors say this was the top solution developed by the community-based chart process which released its final report in August. They say that community involvement is still encouraged.
“I’m sure community members, we also have a lot to say,” said Villarreal.
“And we actually, and we welcome that,” echoed Romero-Wirth. “This is a very important part of Santa Fe and being in the center of our plaza, which is very important to the community is something that we have a responsibility to do right by.”
The councilor’s resolution also calls for the creation of a city office of equity and inclusion, similar to one in Albuquerque. That new office would be responsible for deciding what’s inscribed on the new plaques.
But councilors believe it’s long overdue in Santa Fe.
“We really are wanting an office that represents a commitment to better addressing racial and social disparities in our community, and also achieving equity across populations and indicators,” said Villarreal.
The proposed resolution will officially be introduced during next week’s city council meeting.
The resolution has to go through the committee process before a final vote. If approved, city leaders would need to set aside funding in the budget, and hire a company to manage the reconstruction.
And there are possible chances for community input. Councilors say they’re presenting all of this now to make sure residents have plenty of time to chime in before that final vote.