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Last Conquistador: Special Screening, Think Guest


by Anne Bothwell 9 Jul 2008

A monumental work of art or a terribly misplaced reminder of cruel history? Conquistador Juan de Oñate is a hero to some in El Paso who feel the Spanish contributions to settling the West is often ignored. To others, he represents oppression and violence, an attempt to obliterate Native American culture. When sculptor John Houser […]

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A monumental work of art or a terribly misplaced reminder of cruel history? Conquistador Juan de Oñate is a hero to some in El Paso who feel the Spanish contributions to settling the West is often ignored. To others, he represents oppression and violence, an attempt to obliterate Native American culture.

When sculptor John Houser began creating a huge statue of de Oñate for the city of El Paso, he and his backers hadn’t a clue of the controversy it would create. The Last Conquistador eloquently tells this story. Today, Think’s Kris Boyd talked to John Valadez, the filmmaker. (Listen below).


UPDATE: Tickets for the screening are no longer available. But the documentary will air on KERA TV Tuesday at 9 p.m.

And there are still a few spaces left for Art&Seek’s reception, special screening and q/a with co-director Christina Ibarra at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow here at KERA, 3000 Harry Hines Blvd. You must RSVP at 214.740.9238. Come join us.

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  • DTaylor

    Before resurrecting anything for permanent public display, intense care should be rendered by researching historical data. In addition, the community sentiments must be considered. Especially in America where the most devastating genocide on this planet has been committed all for greed. The lost lives, loved ones, pain and suffering, that will forever be etched in this land and in the souls throughout. Think of a sculptor of Hiltler, how well do you think that would go over?

    When will humans finally learn how to respect one another if you keep hurting one another?

  • lparsons

    Would we consider it appropriate to have a monumental bronze commemorating the slave traders of the deep south; or would we consider erecting a monument to Hitler? These were both important events in history but such monuments would not for an instant be considered. Onate was an important figure in American history, however erecting a monument to him, considering the damage he did to the Native Americans is very inappropriate.
    Mr Hauser has been associated with the Southwest and its history long enough to have been very aware of Onates complete history. If the artist truly had regrets about this monument and its impact, perhaps he could have cancelled that portion of his contract and refunded that portion of the money to the city of El Paso or the donors.

    LL Parsons