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Are we working for a just economic system that respects all humans and all earth creatures? It is, consequently, only indirectly that we, two hundred years removed, can decipher their thoughts. The expedition was attacked by a band and only seven escaped. The results were people wrenched from home, tradition and family, subjugated to an alien culture and contradictory values. Missions were far from luxurious, and although food became plentiful all imported items were in short supply. I’m fairly educated yet I am learning about these missions for the first time!! 2. Within this short period the status of native groups within the system can be readily examined. Violations of the stern code of sexual conduct were punished by putting men in stocks and women in irons. As many as 10,000 California Indians, especially children, were kidnapped and sold into slavery … info@sandiegohistory.org Women, Lasuén granted, were flogged as well when they deserved it. Following long-term secular and religious policy of Spain in Spanish America, the missionaries forced the native Californians to live in settlements called reductions, disrupting their traditional way of life. Such is the character of the men we are required to correct, and whose crimes we must punish.16. However, throughout the mission period rumors of revolt never ceased and a number of destructive fires were thought to be the work of malcontents. Hispanicization implied much more than simple religious instruction. Disaster was sometimes the result of these expeditions. Indians were assigned living quarters on the basis of age and marital status. Societies that Control the Traffic Invoke the Aid of Law and Highbinders, and Have Also Appealed to Their Consul ⁠ PASADENA, Cal., Sept. 15-When the slaves were emancipated during the civil war it was supposed that slavery had ceased in the United States, yet within a short time a missionary in California has asked aid for a most peculiar purpose. For a contemporary expression of the dual role of the California missions see Patentes e Ynstrucciones dados a los Empleados de la Expedicción maritima de Monterrey, José de Gálvez, Puerto de la Paz, December 6, 1768, Archivo General de Indias, Guadalajara 416. Have we advanced far regarding economic justice since Serra’s time? 10. Consequently only an approximation can be arrived at by comparing population increase with the difference between baptisms and deaths for a stated period.20 The result is a figure varying somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. The use of public property and taxes to display them is one key to the objection. Trans. At the same time he doubted the feasibility of his method. A much greater percentage made aborted attempts at escape. Craven Street Books, 2015, 249 pp. Through comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western California missions a symbol of slavery to American Indians. A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions, by Elias Castillo. 27. Even before the state’s admission to the Union in September 1850, California’s Legislature passed a bill — ironically called the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians — which codified the Spanish practice of forcing California Indians into slavery, though it set a few token restrictions on the practice. More difficult to ascertain is the day to day treatment of mission Indians. … The Missouri Compromise brings Missouri and Maine into the union and slavery to the American West. Uniformly they maintained that from 15 to 50 lashes were the norm although a novenary of twenty-five lashes per day for nine days was sometimes applied. He was “appalled at the treatment of the Indians by the Franciscan friars.”. Serra, who was born in Spain, came to the Americas in 1749, and in 1769 he founded the first of what would become 21 missions along the California coast. 2, pp. Truancy became so common that it was customary to send presidial soldiers after the fugitives at stated intervals and round up as many as possible at one time to be sent back to their respective missions. Females were locked in compartments reserved for unmarried girls while men were confined in kitchens or other workrooms. These commentaries demand equally cautious interpretation. Expediente on diseases of the Indians by José María Benites, Monterey, January 1, 1805, Santa Barbara Mission Archives (SBMA). It had long been an admitted principle in American politics that free states could be admitted only when accompanied by slave states. At least nine Christian rebels were captured and imprisoned at San Diego. The missions were not agents of intentional enslavement, but rather rapid and therefore violent social and cultural change. The reconquest of the Spanish homeland from Moorish colonizers was indeed an epic war to recover territory, but because of obvious religious differences it had the added aspect of a grand religious crusade. As Elias Castillo puts it, “Some may have simply willed themselves to die, unable to stand the terrible stress….Nearly half of the missions populations died each year” and to make up for such losses the friars hunted farther and farther to find tribes from which they could seek a new and free labor force for their plantations. Trans. Event & Exhibition Updates Married couples were housed in a special compound along with small children. This was due to underestimation of the task at hand and frequently a vested interest in economic exploitation of natives possible within the system. The reduction procedure was more successful from a missionary standpoint, since it required not only religious conversion but also complete cultural change. The California missions fall far short of this classical definition. Vasali Turkanoff, Statement of My Captivity Among the Californians, trans. Although three Indians were whipped and imprisoned, the question of their guilt was never satisfactorily determined. Matthew Fox, PhD, author, theologian, and activist priest, has been calling people of spirit and conscience into the Creation Spirituality lineage for over 50 years. The four commandants were José Argüello, Felipe Goycoechea, Antonio Grajera and Hermenegildo Sal. 2, pp. Corporal punishment was indeed an important feature of mission routine. on September 23, 2015 Pope Francis canonized Father Junipero Serra as a saint. The rules and regulations designed to produce Christian subjects for the King were developed over centuries and are a readily available portion of the historical record. La Pérouse commented favorably upon the Spanish inhabitants and the climate. Black slavery is a footnote in California … Trans. They were, of course, restricted to the mission complex at all times.9. This urbane Frenchman shared the goals of the missionaries but exhorted that they could be achieved by example rather than force. As an essentially Western faith, Christianity requires an understanding and acceptance of basic Western values. They live well free but as soon as we reduce them to a Christian and community life they decline in health, they fatten, sicken and die. In Alta California, the Spanish established missions near Native American settlements and encouraged them to join the missions, persuading them of the advantages they would obtain. Before baptism, neophytes were warned that once they had become Christians their lives would be restricted to the mission compound.7 The rationale for this stricture on mobility is clear in light of the mission’s twofold obligation to Christianize and Hispanicize. Slavery was technically outlawed in the United States with the passage of the 13th Amendment, but another type of slavery exploded in California in … Here are aborigines whom we are teaching to be men, people of vicious and ferocious habits who know no law but force. The missionaries would have philosophically preferred dead Christians to live pagans. Of the missionaries, he observed, “it is with the most pleasing satisfaction that I speak of the pious and prudent conduct of these religious men, which so perfectly accords with the object of their institution.”10 The Frenchman was impressed by the sincerity and hospitality of the missionaries but he found mission theocracy incompatible with natural rights of man. They did perceive the challenge to old ways posed by the enlightened monarchy of Charles III. The fifty-two years from 1769 to 1821 witnessed the beginning, development and golden age of the California missions. Even when healthy the women lose fertility and their sterility is not apparent in annual reports because in most areas of the province gentiles are still being baptized, one is confused with the other and the total always increases. Benites pointed to the most serious causes including dysentery, fevers, pleurisy, the humid and cold climate, pneumonia, viruses but most importantly, syphilis23 In 1806, a Russian visitor, the Baron Von Langsdorf commented upon the sad state of medical knowledge in Alta California. 12. See Harold Livermore, A History of Spain (New York, 1958). Encyclical promulgated on 20 November 1890. CATHOLICAE ECCLESIAE (On Slavery in the Missions) Pope Leo XIII. The Franciscans saw themselves as agents for salvation in the next world, not this. Squads of soldiers were sent into the hills to surprise and capture renegades with some success. In fact no missions were secularized on the northern frontier during the Spanish period. Located in the heart of Balboa Park See Fermín Francisco de Lasuén to Fray José Gasol, San Carlos, December 29, 1800. Physical punishment of neophytes was therefore a topic infrequently mentioned by missionaries. Trans. A new law — carried by San Diego Democratic Assemblymember Shirley Weber — establishes a nine-person committee to study California’s complicity in slavery, develop proposals on what reparations might look like for descendants of enslaved people, and determine who might get paid.. Reparations can take many forms — they could be direct cash payments or subsidized education and … 619-232-6203. In 1804 and 1805 José María Benites, a physician, was sent to California to report on diseases responsible for the alarming death rate. Diseases, starvation, filthy and crowded living conditions, cruelty and torture–but also depression killed the mission Indians. The Fugitive Slave Law decreed any person brought to California pre-statehood as a slave would be considered a slave in the eyes of the law, even though the California constitution banned slavery and the state entered the Union as a “free state” under the Compromise of 1850. These reports provide a concise summary of baptisms, marriages, deaths and total population resident at each mission. 588-596. 160-171. collections@sandiegohistory.org 203-209. A record of Indian behavior under the mission regimen does provide historians with some clue. Fray Luis Jayme and a blacksmith were killed, the carpenter and a number of soldiers of the mission guard were wounded. This in turn, Lasuén continued, “presupposes a mind that is more perverted and more obstinate in evil.”17 At this point punishment by necessity was more severe. 1649 El Prado, Suite #3 Clearly, the Franciscan missionaries stood to gain little in a material sense from their arduous labor. The roots of the mission system as it developed rest in part in the unique relationship between state secular and sacerdotal laboriously developed in Spain. Diseases, starvation, filthy and crowded living conditions, cruelty and torture–but also depression killed the mission Indians. In all missions hospitals have been built, potions have been purchased and medicines acquired from surgeons of the province and from books. One native named Tiburcio claimed he had been flogged for crying at the death of his wife and child. Our museums and archives are temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Vasali Turkanoff, a Russian captive, was a more rabid detractor of the mission system and bitterly criticized the treatment accorded Indians at the missions. in Kenneally, The Writings of Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, vol. The Missions of California, A Legacy of Genocide (San Francisco: Indian Historian Press, 1987), 154-155. The best curanderos and curanderas have been procured. At Mission San Diego de Alcalá flogging of Indians helped to instigate an open attack in which Fray Luis Jayme and a blacksmith were killed. After an autopsy Lasuén reluctantly reported, “It is now public knowledge, and there is no room for doubt, that the missionary died of poisoning.”19. 194-234. 18. Turkanoff claimed that when the deserters returned: They were all bound with rawhide ropes, and some were bleeding from wounds, and some children were tied to their mothers. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill establishing a task force to study and make recommendations on reparations for slavery. With more gifts and kindness, skeptical natives were induced to build their own jacales, or huts, within the mission compound.6. II, p. 269. Desertion was not an occasional occurrence but rather a persistent problem. 26. 28. Married couples were considered most difficult to teach because of ingrained beliefs and lifestyles. makes the point that religion has so often oversold the concept of In March of 1795 Father Antonio Dante directed fourteen Christian Indians to cross the bay from Mission San Francisco in search of runaways. Twenty-one lashes with the whip was the arbitrary limit placed upon punishment.14, Commandants of the presidios were also asked to report on punishments used at the missions and their descriptions were at variance with Lasuén’s. In late 1800 three fathers became mysteriously ill and a rumor circulated suggesting an Indian from Mission San Miguel had poisoned them. Congregation of California natives into missions was theoretically not forcible. The “Reconquista” of the Spanish homeland from Moorish invaders encompassed an 800 year period which terminated only on the eve of Spanish discovery, conquest and colonization of the New World. Associated moral codes define a system of social organization and Christianity insists on monogamy and stresses sedentary living. 6. It is the sorrowful experience of 51 years that Indians live poorly in the missions. The population decline is made more notable since in twenty-four years I have known only two epidemics, that of 1801 and the measles of 1806.27. This is appalling, I had no idea……. For a vivid illustration of Franciscan poverty in California see Fray Francisco Palóu to Fray Rafael Verger, San Carlos, November 2, 1773, Archivo del Museo Nacional, Documentos Relativos a los Misiones de Californias, II. 208-209. Records enumerating apostates were not kept. While criticisms leveled at mission management by outsiders were apt to be less than sympathetic, defenses of the missions by the Franciscans were written with an eye to justification. Foundation of missions was controlled by the Crown, their existence was supported by the royal treasury, and inhabitants were secured by the military. For Serra, his missions “were little more than forced labor. Fray Mariano Payeras to Fray Baldomero Lopéz, La Purísima, July 26,1820, SBMA. The primary motive for missionization was not, as in the case of the Encomienda, exploitation of natives but rather conversion and gradual assimilation into Hispanic society.3 For this reason, missions had a theoretical lifespan of ten years within which to accomplish stated goals. Lasuén’s ultimate defense of the system which he served rested upon the defective character of the natives. Despite denial by the Fathers, nearly all witnesses cited excessive flogging, hunger and the death of relatives. Predictably these people did not submit to such treatment voluntarily and force became a necessary concomitant. 1. Rapid, mainly white immigration during the Gold Rush brought California to statehood in 1850, as a “free state” that forbade slavery. He was kept tied to a stake all day, but he died soon and they kept his corpse tied up.12. Your email address will not be published. This permitted the missions to thrive economically, and allowed the friars to profit personally for the sale of tallow, hides, horns, wine and brandy” which they sold to foreign merchant ships. The regimentation, organized labor and extreme paternalism of the missions resulted in despondency and weakening of desire to live. Fox Corporal punishment is inflicted on the Indians of both sexes who neglect the exercises of piety, and many sins, which are left in Europe to the divine justice, are here punished by iron and stocks. For the Indians it signified the beginning of brutal suffering and cultural genocide. As an alternative to subjugation and control by force of arms, these institutions attempted to implant concepts of social order and culture held by the dominant Hispanic society.1 The position of the Indian within this system was at best ambiguous when measured against the later issue of freedom versus slavery. Father President Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, Refutation of Charges, San Carlos, June 19, 1801. Eighty-three Christians and seven gentiles were captured and taken to Mission San José. 3. Ghandhi was right, the fundamental evil is greed. Open revolt is, of course, the most obvious reaction to real or imagined oppression. The monjerio also served as a training school in which girls and widows were confined much of the time. 1. Yet demand for land and forced labor caused genocidal-scale population decline among California Indians. And lastly, to complete the similtude between this and other religious communities, it must be observed, that the moment an Indian is baptised, the effect is the same as if he had pronounced a vow for life. "A Cross of Thorns" describes the dark and violent reality of Mission life. The next day we saw some terrible things. in Kenneally, The Writings of Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, vol. He was the first outsider to visit the missions, arriving seventeen years after its founding. An editorial question (Aug. 20) asked about the removal of Confederate monuments from public land. . A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality JourneyIn A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey. In September of 1786 Jean de la Pérouse sailed into Monterey Bay, the capital of Spanish California. The reduction process was not necessary where missions were located among sedentary people. Despite the absence of motivation for personal gain the missions nevertheless destroyed those people they had been sent to save. The maternal love of the Catholic Church embraces all people. Stocks, shackles and hobbles were also applied to neophytes accused of neglect of work or religious duties, overstaying leave of absence, sexual offenses, thefts and quarreling.15. Most died within two years, with their faith, customs, and way of life torn from them. SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can He makes explicit the slave-like conditions of the Indians “whose state at present scarcely differs from that of the Negro inhabitants of our colonies….” It “brought to our recollection a plantation at Santo Domingo or any other West Indian island.”  The “noise of the whip” was everywhere. The question of slavery extension made California an integral part of the territory of the United States; the birth, a half-century ago, of the free State of California, inflicted a mortal wound upon the enemy of human freedom.. Infrequent visitors to the California coast are the only available source of comment by outsiders. See: Elias Castillo, A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions, pp. See Fray Vicente Fuster to Fray Junípero Serra, San Diego, November 28, 1775. The Indian population is declining. Many sources discuss the San Diego Revolt. Form and severity of punishment were determined by a cacique who was chosen by the Indians from among those whom the missionaries had not excluded. French Naval Captain Jean-Francois de Galaup, Comte de Laperouse, sailed into Monterey Bay on September 14, 1786. Yes, We Live on Ohlone Land. On Wikimedia Commons: Consider deeply how once again, as with slavery, economics is foundational to the entire system of the missions. 2, pp. Communities were critical to the inseparable dual functions of missions, Christianization and Hispanicization. One chief was taken out to the open field and a young calf which had just died was skinned and the chief was sewed into the skin while it was yet warm. No man entered the California mission field to live a life of ease or to acquire a fortune.28. Historia de Mexico, Primera Serie, tomo 2. 2727 Presidio Drive, San Diego, CA 92103. 1820. Your email address will not be published. Summations of their reports are contained in Hubert H. Bancroft, History of California (San Francisco, 1886) vol. 1649 El Prado, Suite #3 San Diego, CA 92101, For research questions: The priests gradually recovered and Father President Lasuén assumed the affair was at an end. 13. The Father President’s refutation included a scathing indictment of the very people whom he served. Typically the Fathers and a squad of soldiers went in pursuit. Soldiers were later sent into the hills to try and capture those responsible for the insurrection. Discipline ultimately depended upon physical abuse and this was pointed out by the foreigner. In October of 1775 gentile and Christian Indians acted in concert to destroy Mission San Diego. In 1769, under order of the Spanish king, sea and land expeditions departed Mexico for California, meeting in San Diego where the first fort and mission were established to serve as frontier outposts. 23. Each year the Father President of the missions submitted a report titled “General State of the Missions of New California.” These reports are available for each year with the exception of 1789 in the Santa Barbara Mission Archives. But What Does That Mean? . in Kenneally, The Writings of Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, vol. Escapees in concert with non-mission natives frequently made violent and sometimes successful resistance to recapture. 25. 8. This number includes only those fugitives who were able to successfully elude constant pursuit. In New Mexico, for example, the Franciscans simply superimposed missions upon pre-existing native communities. In “A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions,” published last year, Castillo draws on seven years … 24. Women are particularly affected. 1, p. 709. July 12, 2020. It is not fair to remove these men from their place in time and subject them to standards of the late twentieth century. 75-76. In fact, the mission friars enslaved the California Indians and treated them with deliberate cruelty. Fray Mariano Payeras to Fray Josef Viñals, La Purísima, July 2, 1806, Archivo General de la Nación. by Summer Furzer | Apr 1, 1978 | | 0 comments, The Journal of San Diego History Absence, equated with apostasy, was punished swiftly and certainly. Economic motives cannot be assigned to the Franciscan frontiersmen who pioneered Alta California. Spain sent with her New World immigrants an ancient concept of social order dependent upon communal living. Another means of resistance to missionization was escape. Too often economic exploitation of native peoples was the strongest foundation of the surrounding civilian and military society.4. Several Indians received near mortal lashings but all were eventually released at the request of their Franciscan mentors.18, The revolt at San Diego was the only organized outbreak of its kind. Offenses for which the whip was applied and likely converts were encouraged to watch, website. 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