Residents urge city to collect more public input on obelisk

Residents of Santa Fe and beyond may never reach a consensus about what should stand in the center of the downtown Plaza, where a massive box remains as a reminder of the toppled obelisk, a controversial monument that had honored both Civil War Union troops and soldiers who battled Indigenous people.

Some residents adamantly demand the city restore the obelisk, destroyed in October 2020 during an Indigenous Peoples Day rally; others warn if the monument is resurrected from its broken pieces, it will be taken down again.

The City Council’s first effort to replace the protective wooden box around the obelisk’s base with a new Plaza monument — a reconstructed obelisk featuring fractures between chunks of concrete, with new signs explaining its history and the community’s cultures — met with a unified call for the city to slow down, gather more public input at every step of the way, reach out to a broader cross section of the community and include far more Indigenous voices.

The council will revisit the proposed resolution during a special meeting March 15, following a contentious public hearing Wednesday that prompted a late-night vote by Mayor Alan Webber and the councilors to postpone a decision on the measure.

Bob White, the first person to speak at Wednesday night’s hearing on the proposal — which calls for both rebuilding the obelisk and creating a new city Office of Equity and Inclusion — said many of the elements in the resolution matched with recommendations he provi