ICMN's own Alex
Jacobs appears in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 documentary: 'Veiled
Moquino from Santa Clara pueblo raises his arm in protest
during the annual Fiesta Entrada in Santa Fe. (photo courtesy
Veiled Lightning / Photo: Brian Fishbine)
There has been a long and troubled history between
the Native American residents of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Fiestas,
an annual celebration of the founding of the city. Because Santa
Fe has celebrated a watered-down version of a bloody and ugly history
against Native people, filmmaker Jaima Chevalier has made a documentary
on the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 titled Veiled Lightning to correct
what she calls "the lie at the center" of Santa Fe culture.
Marley, member The Red Nation, protesting during the annual
Fiesta Entrada in Santa Fe. (photo courtesy Veiled Lightning
/ Photo: Brian Fishbine)
As part of the Santa Fe Fiestas celebration is an event known
as "La Entrada," that is an annual reenactment held in the Santa
Fe central plaza depicting the re-taking of the city by Don Diego
De Vargas 12 years after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. However Native
American residents of Santa Fe have long protested the city of Santa
Fe's unrealistic version of what was a bloody and ugly history.
Chevalier, an author of three books about the Southwest who
was born and raised in Santa Fe, says she made the Pueblo Revolt
of 1680 Veiled Lightning documentary in response to the outrage
expressed by Native people and the Santa Fe resistance to embrace
the real history.
Chevalier would like the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 Veiled Lightning
documentary to be used as a vehicle for fostering understanding
of the minority viewpoint. "Time did not begin with the arrival
of the Spanish, and that the history of the area belongs to all
of us. It is only by a reexamination of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680
that we will be able to find a possible reconciliation of the cultural
turmoil represented by the sad pageantry of the Entrada."
has been a long and troubled history between the Native American
residents of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Fiestas, an annual
celebration of the founding of the city. (photo courtesy Veiled
Lightning / Photo: Seewai Hui)
"This story involves 400 years of history between the Natives
and the Spanish, before there was a United States," explained artist,
poet and ICMN correspondent Alex Jacobs, who appears onscreen at
the 2016 protest interviewing local Natives about their participation.
Alex Jacobs appears briefly in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 documentary:
"[The Entrada] is also a show put on by religious devotees for
themselves but also for tourists and tourist money. Many Hispanic
city officials also were raised with and performed these re-enactments,
but it is only in recent years and with recent generations that
Natives have been fighting back with their art, words and reclaiming
histories. Neither side is going away on this one," Jacobs told
In 2015 a group of several dozen protestors attended the Entrada
with strips of black tape over their mouths, and held signs that
refuted the Fiesta Council's non-violent version of historical events,
such as: "In 1693, Don Diego executed 70 warriors and enslaved hundreds
of women and children." In 2016 The Red Nation, an inter-tribal
activist group based in Albuquerque, along with members of the UNM
Kiva Club, joined the protest at the invitation of the Santa Fe
Their numbers swelled and the tape came off; protestors marched
and chanted in earshot of those attending the Entrada, and were
met by a heavy police presence.
protestors donned Anonymous masks at the annual Fiesta Entrada
in Santa Fe. (photo courtesy Veiled Lightning / Photo: Brian
The current mayor, who played Don Diego de Vargas in the 1989
Entrada pageant, is not finding easy solutions to resolving the
conflict. Painfully stuck between the rock of tradition and the
hard place of adding to Native trauma, the city's main solution
has been to enact Indigenous People's Day.
Both the mayor and Dean A. Milligan, president of the Fiesta
Council, acknowledge the right of the protestors to demonstrate.
"We are aware of it, we don't discourage it," said Milligan, "as
long as it doesn't get out of control. Last year The Red Nation
came in to protest. They used megaphones, which scared the horses
and young kids."
Milligan said that after last year's protest he looked at photographs
of the protestors and found that "very few protesters are from the
city of Santa Fe." He questions their motives. "They've been all
over the nation protesting," he said. "I don't know if they're paid
to do it."
Elena Ortiz of Ohkay Owingeh, a longtime Santa Fe resident and
organizer of the protests, refuted the rumor. "We were not paid
to protest," Ortiz said. "On the contrary, many of us took days
off of work, and I personally paid $300 from my own funds for shirts
and signs, which were printed by my old friends at Tees and Skis,
Statement of the Mayor of the City of Santa Fe:
"Santa Fe is a place that is defined by its history, and
where our history is integral to our modern day success. There's
no question the Entrada raises serious questions about the
conflicts and tragedy tied up with these stories, and we have
the utmost respect for the rights of those who come out and
protest to use their rights and make their voices heard.
We do want to be clear that public dollars are not used to
fund the Entrada, which is planned, organized and carried
out by a separate organization.
The larger purpose of the Fiestas is to commemorate a religious
promise made by De Vargas to La Conquistadora at the time
the Spanish returned to Santa Fe. Many Santa Feans are very
proud of their Spanish heritage, and the farmers and merchants,
as well as soldiers, who were their ancestors.
What has been missing for far too long is a balance that
also recognizes the incredible and significant contributions
Native peoples have made to Santa Fe's history an imbalance
we have taken aggressive and active steps to correct.
This is why we are working hard to plan Indigenous People's
Day, which we recognized and celebrated for the first time
last year, and will include performances and storytelling
by Native Pueblos and Tribes that gives this important group
of Santa Feans a powerful and equal platform to tell their
Even as we honor the protest and their beliefs, we are striving
to recognize the many instances of collaboration and mutual
respect that exist between the two cultures that should be
highlighted, and the fact that Santa Fe is built on their
interactions over 400 years of history."
Mayor Javier M. Gonzales
Santa Feans got a chance to view a shortened version of the
Pueblo Revolt of 1680 Veiled Lightning documentary at the New Mexico
Museum of History on Friday, June 2, It has been entered for screenings
for film festivals at SWAIA Class X, Gallup, Pueblo, Imaginative
(Toronto), and the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. The film,
which has a Native production team, was awarded silver laurels in
the 2017 International Independent Film Awards.
For more information visit www.veiledlightning.com.