Arts

Native Artist Shot in New Mexico at Rally Over Colonizer Statue

A Native activist was shot in the city of Española, New Mexico, yesterday, September 28, throughout a protest of a statue of Juan de Oñate, the 16th-century Spanish governor of New Mexico who launched a war towards the Acoma Pueblo. Suspect 23-year-old Ryan Martinez was taken into custody for allegedly taking pictures and injuring Jacob Johns, a Hopi and Akimel O’odham local weather activist and artist.

Native activists from teams together with the Red Nation, NDN Collective, and Three Sisters Collective arrived Tuesday and camped in a single day at the city plaza the place the statue was slated to be put in in entrance of the sheriff’s workplace. The sculpture has lengthy been a contentious problem in the small metropolis of Española, and the work was taken down in 2020 after protests demanding its removing. The metropolis determined to position the monument again on view and scheduled the rededication ceremony for Thursday, September 28.

Faced with a rising variety of protestors at the location, town mentioned in a press release on Wednesday, September 27 that it had reserved an area for the activists. Later that day, town announced it will postpone the occasion “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

The protestors positioned choices at the foot of the pedestal the place Oñate’s likeness was anticipated to be positioned. They taped indicators to the cement base studying, “We don’t want Oñate; say no!” and “Leave us alone; quit invoking trauma!”

Photographs of the scene present Martinez sporting a pink “Make America Great Again” hat and standing amongst the gathered crowd. He reportedly started arguing with the activists and police requested him to go away. A chilling video exhibits the moments earlier than the taking pictures. Martinez tried to reenter the protesters’ area, however after crowd members bodily prevented him from doing so, Martinez jumped over a brief wall, pulled a handgun from his pocket, and fired into the group, hitting Johns in the chest. Martinez reportedly drove away in a white Tesla. 

The Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office took Martinez into custody shortly after. The company has not but responded to Hyperallergic‘s request for remark.

Demonstrators had been gathering peacefully when a counter-protestor charged the gathering with a gun and opened fireplace, wounding an attendee. (photograph by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The sufferer, Jacob Johns, is described in a GoFundMe web page launched yesterday as a muralist and musician specializing in “non-violent, peaceful ‘artivism.’” Johns was airlifted to the hospital and obtained surgical procedure, from which he’s recovering. The marketing campaign has raised over $64,000 to this point.

“Although we are seeking justice for our brother, we cannot negate the fact that this community has been re-traumatized by an act of terrorism at a peaceful assembly, a gathering in which we were exercising our First Amendment rights,” Native activist group Three Sisters Collective wrote in a statement.

An eerily comparable incident occurred in Albuquerque in 2020. Activists had assembled to take away an Oñate statue there, and after a confrontation, a person was shot, allegedly by members of the right-wing militia New Mexico Civil Guard.



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