2008 POV Preview: ‘Last Conquistador’

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Today, we continue looking ahead to our upcoming season. On Tuesday, July 15, POV will broadcast The Last Conquistador, by John Valadez and Cristina Ibarra.
Renowned sculptor John Houser has a dream: to build the world’s tallest bronze equestrian statue for the city of El Paso, Texas. He envisions a stunning monument to the Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate that will pay tribute to the contributions Hispanic people made to building the American West. But as the project nears completion troubles arise. Native Americans are outraged — they remember Oñate as the man who brought genocide to their land and sold their children into slavery. As El Paso divides along lines of race and class in The Last Conquistador, the artist must face the moral implications of his work.

Watch the trailer:

For more previews of 2008 POV films, check out our TV Schedule.

Catherine Jhee
Catherine Jhee
Catherine Jhee was formerly a producer with POV Interactive.
  • 40 Rabbits

    FOREIGNID: 15485
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    What next…a giant statue of Hitler in Jerusalem?

  • Romero

    FOREIGNID: 15486
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Check out this link.
    It is a geneological website and this page contains information about Geronimo Marquez, a soldier under Onate’s command. Read the footnotes relating to the Acoma events and draw your own conclusions. Nothing is ever black or white, there is always another side to every story.

  • A Lee Jones

    FOREIGNID: 15487
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    After thinking about this statue, I thought, well, Okay, but why stop there? Why not a gaint statue of Hitler or Stalin, maybe Sadam ( could probably get that cheap from someone in Iraq (might have a mashed head though). (Heck, Fremont in Seattle has one of Stalin it’s trying to sell, maybe ElPaso can get a good deal) I mean, let’s make a roadside attraction out of this.. The town folk could finally put their town’s name on the map, a tourist place for the wannabe terrorist art lover….I mean outside of Kinky Freedman’s well known song about “an a…… from Elpaso”. what else does this city have to offer. But seriously folks, talent does not excuse ignorance. The film was well produced, thought provoking. An inside veiw of the clay feet of a great man. Denial at it’s best. Interesting note, about going blind through the eyes, when the soul has been blind for self serving talent…..Just a few thoughts Sad to see that this town is still holding on to its economic divisions, thinking about how money is spent on the luxury not improving the other side of the tracks ( kinda shades of Giant, the novel made famous by the 50′s movie). But again, this is why I left Texas after 20 years, not ever to return Alee

  • Robert-Paul LeMay

    FOREIGNID: 15488
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Last night I had the opportunity to see The Last Conquistador with a group of Native people, many of whom were from Acoma. As a Native American Studies student and also someone who has been blessed with the friendship of many Native people, I can only say that the statue of a genocidal madman who died in disgrace is one more object lesson in the continuing shameful behavior of the present breed of conquistadors, or colonizers, who continue the nightmare for Native peoples through such practices as blood quantum identification and federal denial of tribal recognition. The wealthy, white elite of El Paso who seem practically orgasmic at the sight of their investment stand as an indictment of Americans who continue to fret over Darfur while turning their backs on the atrocities that exist on every reservation in this country.

  • Theodore Morris

    FOREIGNID: 15489
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Why dosen’t the community send out a call for artists to paint murals about this Spaniard all over town . This should generate a lot of publicity. I would think the artists would donate their talents.
    Theodore Morris
    Artist – Florida Lost Tribes

  • shelton bailey

    FOREIGNID: 15490
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    In rebuttal to Romero”s comments I logged on to the web site and read the account of one, Geronimo Marquez and I find them quite irrelevent to the discussion, In the first considering the fact that he was employed in the same goals as Onate, just how reliable is his personal accounts. Second, no matter what the era it is very hard to justify the conquest and genocide and this is blact and white, right vs wrong good vs evil. I know you you are not suggesting that the Acoma did not have the right to attempt to repel a brutal conquest bent on destruction of their culture, at all cost by any means.All that you need do is to look at the faces of the Native American people in the film and see the hurt, pain and betrayal eched on their faces to kmow that this project wsa just wrong, for this area. Again why not erect a statute of old Jeff Davis in the middle of Harlem?

  • Kenneth Cooper

    FOREIGNID: 15491
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    In this film, “The Last Conquistador”, the part that upset me most was John Houser’s ‘show of grief’ followed by his reminding us that ‘it’s too late now’. Anyone else sense an undercurrent of disingenuousness there? As he shared with us in this documentary, he knew of Juan de Onate’s reputation before he even started work on this sculpture. But now, any way you look at it, Mr. Houser has his monument, this monument that will stand in perpetuity as John Housers’ most recognized work.
    I’m not some kind of bleeding heart liberal – but I know injustice when I see it, and that statue represents a grave injustice to all Native American people, especially to the people of Acoma Pueblo. And if you think about it, Juan de Onate doesn’t stand simply as and individual who terrorized the Native American people. Rather he puts a face on a single representation of all those wrongs that Native American people had to endure over those first centuries in the making of the America that we know today.
    There needs to be an ongoing protest at that statue in El Paso. If I was a member of Acoma Pueblo I would, at the Santa Fe Indian Market or at the next Pow Wow in Albuquerque, try to drum up support for maintaining a constant Native American presence and protest at the statue of Mr. Housers’ conquistador. We can’t just end this thing with, “well, it’s too late now”.

  • Pamela Fisk

    FOREIGNID: 15492
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    The insensitivity of the rich people who donated the cash to create this statue is so palpable and hateful that I pledge I will never set foot in El Paso to see that horrible monument to egos that run roughshode over the gentle Indian beings who protested its erection in their city. It is an atrocity and an obscenity. May there be a curse on those who continue to oppress the people. The artist who goes blind, does so because of his most horrible karma. The entire situation makes me sick to my stomach and sad to be an American.

  • Omar Cain

    FOREIGNID: 15493
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I AM DISGUSTED BY THE FACT THAT THIS ARTIST “JOHN HOUSER” EVEN HAD THE NERVE TO BUILD THIS STATUE IN THE FIRST PLACE, THE STATUE WAS NOT BUILT TO REMEMBER A “TIME IN HISTORY” IT WAS BUILT AS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO ALL ACOMA INDIANS AS WELL AS OTHER INDIANS, THIS MAN SLAUGHTERED 800 INDIANS,ENSLAVED THE REMAINING 500 WOMEN AND CHILDREN,CUT OFF (NOT AMPUTATED) THE LEFT FOOT OF 85 MEN BECAUSE HE CHOSE TO DEMAND SUPPLIES FROM THESE PEOPLE AND IN TURN GOT 13 OF HIS SOLDIERS KILLED INCLUDING HIS NEPHEW. THIS ISN’T A MAN THAT SHOULD HAVE HIS NAME REMEMBERED BY PUTTING UP A STATUE OF HIM, IT’S ALMOST LIKE SAYING LET’S BUILD A STATUE OF HITLER AND PUT IT NEAR A JEWISH COMMUNITY AND SAY IT WAS ONLY BUILT TO REMEMBER A “TIME IN HISTORY” THAT IS DISRESPECTFUL TO NOT ONLY THE INDIANS BUT ALSO TO ANYONE WHO IS AGAINST THE MASSACRE AND KILLING OF HUMANS IN GENERAL.

  • carolyn s moss

    FOREIGNID: 15494
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I agree that putting up a statue of Onate is in very bad taste. Still, how can people cry as the one lady did and act as if they are still grieving over something that happen 400 years ago. There seems to be to0 much living in the past for a lot of people. Wanting money and apologies for something that happened long before they were ever born. I doubt there is a person in the world who doesn’t have ancestors who were mistreated at some time or another. Our history can’t be changed. Let’s work on what is happening today.

  • Angelica

    FOREIGNID: 15495
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Are you serious Carolyn, then let’s forget 9/11. That’s the past. No we will not forget that affected american history. So to slap the native american in the face with that synical saying is absurd. Tell that to the people who lost a loved one on that historic date of 9/11. Why are they getting money from the gov. to help their grief. Come on, don’t use such a lame excuse as “that’s in the past” to try and cover up such a hanious crime. The native americans were the first to get the shaft, then the blacks, then the hispanics and you want us all to forget it. God forbid that something happen to your family as terrible and let’s see you forget it. Deep pockets are what get anything done and it will always be so in this country. They could of used this money to fix the real problems in the lower class communities. That was digusting how orgasmic the white lady acted when she saw the statue, just plain ridiculous.