Father Eusebio Francisco Kino was the first European to visit the Piman Indian settlements in the location that would later become Tucson. He named the area San Cosme de Tucsón some time after his first visit in 1694. Appropriately, this statue is on Kino Blvd.
I think its fairly evident that the Spanish colonization in the 17th and 18th centuries of what is now Mexico and parts of the US was not ultimately to the advantage of the indigenous peoples who lived there. That said, I think it is not unreasonable to separate this man from that backround – which he was a very significant part of as a missionary and leader – and say he was remarkable man, probably even a good man.
He was an Italian Jesuit who came to Mexico in 1681. He was an intellectual – a mathematician, a cartographer and an astronomer. He believed in a respectful approach to the Indians who lived there and that “this is neither well nor sufficiently achieved when one sits perched on his chair ordering subordinates or Indian officials to do what we should be doing personally by sitting down time and again with them on earthen floors or on a rock.” He was a linguist who learned many native languages, an explorer who traveled into the Pimera Alta at the age of 43, traveling some 30,000 kilometers in 24 years through what is now northern Sonoran Mexico and southern Arizona.