Monday, April 6, 2009

Quartocentenario Celebration of Santa Fe

The end of March 2009 marks the beginning of a two-year commemoration of 400 years of the city of Santa Fe, originally established by the Spanish as the "villa" of Santa Fe. Of course, as we now know, with the discovery of indigenous artifacts beneath the old Sweeney Center and in the renovation of the Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe was home to indigenous peoples before it was declared a villa by the Spanish. So, commemorations and anniversaries are complicated. How do we now celebrate "400 years"? As 400 years of Spanish and then U.S. occupancy/residency/occupation IN ADDITION to occupancy by native peoples? With my own Hispanic and native ancestry, I discover, in this discussion, the inadequacy of language to keep from overvaluing or undervaluing one or the other of "Santa Fe's" peoples. Tomorrow morning, I'll meetwith Stephen Lentz from the New Mexico Office of Archaelogical Studies to learn the latest about those indigenous artifacts, "under" the contemporary city of Santa Fe and will report back here. For now, I want to acknowledge our 400th celebration (the city has invited President Obama to quartocentenario event in September) while engaging us in a dialogue about the complicated history of our beautiful city. Nothing good is ever simple; Santa Fe and its history is rich and messy. Most things worth something are.

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