In 1998, near Española, New Mexico, someone severed the foot from a bronze statue of Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate with a saw. The statue honored the man who had served as New Mexico's first Spanish colonial governor, from 1598 to 1608. Española, about 150 miles from Acoma, was celebrating its 400th anniversary at the time.
Vandalism or was there something else at play?
Colorado artist Daniel Salazar -- a filmmaker and photographer who has worked with El Centro Su Teatro and Denver Public Schools -- first heard about the statue and about the history of Acoma people -- many of whom had their feet amputated by Onate -- when he was in New Mexico filming a documentary.
Whenever he mentioned the story to people in the area, whether they were of Native American, Spanish or another heritage, they were always bursting with things to say.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Now he wants to seek out the person or persons who cut off the statue's foot -- and make a movie about it (the subject of this week's Off Limits column). To finance the project, Salazar wants to raise $12,500 via United States Artists (a "crowdfunding" platform similar to Kickstarter), which allows supporters to donate online to different projects and causes. He plans to start his journey in January, so potential investors have until January 10 to donate.
To find out more, click the link above or listen to Salazar's video.