california missions slavery

california missions slavery

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. One native named Tiburcio claimed he had been flogged for crying at the death of his wife and child. (CNN)California Gov. French Naval Captain Jean-Francois de Galaup, Comte de Laperouse, sailed into Monterey Bay on September 14, 1786. Violations of the stern code of sexual conduct were punished by putting men in stocks and women in irons. 5. Although three Indians were whipped and imprisoned, the question of their guilt was never satisfactorily determined. 25. La Pérouse commented favorably upon the Spanish inhabitants and the climate. Chumash Indian rebellion against California missions (1824) Andrew Jackson elected president (1828); “Jacksonian Democracy”: white male equality, pro-slavery, anti-Indian wars and removals Mexico abolishes slavery (1829) 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. Ghandhi was right, the fundamental evil is greed. 23. 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. 20. At Santa Barbara Mission stocks had been used to discipline women since the date of its foundation. 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. When supplies ran short, as they frequently did in the early days, natives were encouraged to leave the missions in order to forage for themselves and thus relieve the pressure on limited mission supplies. In late 1800 three fathers became mysteriously ill and a rumor circulated suggesting an Indian from Mission San Miguel had poisoned them. For Serra, his missions “were little more than forced labor. This includes a chronological concept of history and a belief in the subservience of nature. In October of 1775 gentile and Christian Indians acted in concert to destroy Mission San Diego. Communal contact at the missions served as a catalyst for disease. 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.. 15. 42-61. See Fray Vicente Sarría to the missionaries, Soledad, June 6, 1814, Archives of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. In March of 1795 Father Antonio Dante directed fourteen Christian Indians to cross the bay from Mission San Francisco in search of runaways. Jean F. G. De la Pérouse, A Voyage Round the World Performed in the Years 1785, 1786, 1787 and 1788 by the Bousole and Astrolabe (New York, 1968) vol. Spain sent with her New World immigrants an ancient concept of social order dependent upon communal living. The four commandants were José Argüello, Felipe Goycoechea, Antonio Grajera and Hermenegildo Sal. 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. The floggings ranged from ten lashes up to fifty which could prove fatal. Yet famed for its liberal reputation, California has a far more complicated history. Fray Luis Jayme and a blacksmith were killed, the carpenter and a number of soldiers of the mission guard were wounded. Castillo comments that this policy endorsed by Serra “proved catastrophic for the Indians when they began abandoning the missions in the 1830s.”. In August nine captives were tried and found guilty. The principle emerges that decent people whose motives as judged by their own standards are excellent, have frequently violated other people who live by different standards. To learn more, visit. Boys and young men slept in separate quarters but were not locked in at night nor confined to barracks in the day. 1649 El Prado, Suite #3 4. Meetings, Lectures & Workshops – History Center. The most succinct analysis of the role of the frontier mission is contained in Herbert E. Bolton, “The Mission as a Frontier Institution in the Spanish American Colonies,” American Historical Review, 23 (1917), pp. Despite good intentions the mission system decimated and destroyed native peoples subject to it. 19. Indians were assigned living quarters on the basis of age and marital status. Summations of their reports are contained in Hubert H. Bancroft, History of California (San Francisco, 1886) vol. 194-234. The final result was a lucid defense of the mission system of Alta California penned by Father-President Lasuén in 1800 and 1801. The California Missions Resource Center is a comprehensive and unique resource for historical information on the twenty-one California Missions. The missions were not agents of intentional enslavement, but rather rapid and therefore violent social and cultural change. Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: Responses are welcomed. Father President Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, Refutation of Charges, San Carlos, June 19, 1801. 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. The California missions fall far short of this classical definition. 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. This urbane Frenchman shared the goals of the missionaries but exhorted that they could be achieved by example rather than force. in Kenneally, The Writings of Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, vol. As he prepares to enter Congress in the new year, Rep.-elect Jamaal Bowman said in a new interview that he believes capitalism is “slavery by … Many sources discuss the San Diego Revolt. After one abortive attempt to capture renegades, Governor Diego de Borica organized an expedition to attack the rancheria located across the bay and to capture head men and deserters. “sin” that it has left us without language or power to combat evil. This is appalling, I had no idea……. Married couples were housed in a special compound along with small children. Eighty-three Christians and seven gentiles were captured and taken to Mission San José. Fray Mariano Payeras to Fray Josef Viñals, La Purísima, July 2, 1806, Archivo General de la Nación. Girls who had passed their eighth year were housed in the monjerio in which they were confined under lock and key at night to protect their virtue. 12. Epidemics periodically decimated the population. With more gifts and kindness, skeptical natives were induced to build their own jacales, or huts, within the mission compound.6. Required fields are marked *. Hubert H. Bancroft, History of California, vol. A much greater percentage made aborted attempts at escape. 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 … The result was a whipping administered by a soldier or mission Indian, sometimes to the point of death. 588-596. The California Mission Indians were illiterate and therefore unable to express in written form their own feelings toward the system to which they were subjected. It is, consequently, only indirectly that we, two hundred years removed, can decipher their thoughts. This destruction was inexcusable but it was not intentional. Typically the Fathers and a squad of soldiers went in pursuit. He was “appalled at the treatment of the Indians by the Franciscan friars.”. Associated moral codes define a system of social organization and Christianity insists on monogamy and stresses sedentary living. info@sandiegohistory.org An editorial question (Aug. 20) asked about the removal of Confederate monuments from public land. in Kenneally, The Writings of Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, vol. tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively It had long been an admitted principle in American politics that free states could be admitted only when accompanied by slave states. Active and passive resistance to the regimen was commonplace and clearly suggests many Indians resided at Missions under duress rather than by choice. Discipline ultimately depended upon physical abuse and this was pointed out by the foreigner. by Summer Furzer | Apr 1, 1978 | | 0 comments, The Journal of San Diego History The missionaries introduced European fruits, vegetables, cattle, horses, ranching, and technology. 21. Black slavery is a footnote in California … The Indian population is declining. The Father President’s refutation included a scathing indictment of the very people whom he served. Flogging of Indians at San Diego apparently precipitated the attack although abuses over a period of time had built up resentment. by Ivan Petroff (Los Angeles, 1953), p. 14. California rejected slavery from the start, but committed genocide against Native Americans. Fox 208-209. Either soldiers from the escolta, or mission guard, or soldiers from a presidial company were assigned the task of tracking and capturing runaways. 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. In all missions hospitals have been built, potions have been purchased and medicines acquired from surgeons of the province and from books. In 1797 Padre Antonio de la Concepción Hora, who had come to California the same year, was sent back to Mexico by President Fermín Francisco de Lasuén on charges of insanity. Anonymous, San Gabriel Mission (1832), courtesy of the California Historical Society. The California missions fall far short of this classical definition. A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions, by Elias Castillo. 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. Castillo continues: Much of California including land that was far from the coast, would be turned into a huge and profitable farming area—the legacy of the missions, albeit at a tragic cost to California’s Indians….Newly-arrived settlers were faced with twenty-one missions that were in actuality giant agribusinesses that controlled the best lands with a large pool of free manpower. 3. Clearly, the Franciscan missionaries stood to gain little in a material sense from their arduous labor. See Harold Livermore, A History of Spain (New York, 1958). Trans. Little pressure was applied and likely converts were encouraged to watch, and eventually to help in building the mission edifice itself. The next day we saw some terrible things. 18. In all, it forms a somber calculation of diminution. … This report is the most eloquent and complete defense in existence.13, If indeed by slavery we mean an almost total restriction of personal freedom, Lasuén’s defense is the system’s condemnation. 1649 El Prado, Suite #3 San Diego, CA 92101, For research questions: 619-232-6203. Foundation of missions was controlled by the Crown, their existence was supported by the royal treasury, and inhabitants were secured by the military. The reduction procedure was more successful from a missionary standpoint, since it required not only religious conversion but also complete cultural change. July 12, 2020. Economic motives cannot be assigned to the Franciscan frontiersmen who pioneered Alta California. However, throughout the mission period rumors of revolt never ceased and a number of destructive fires were thought to be the work of malcontents. Was Rome blind and deaf when it canonized Sera? His 36 books (translated into 74 languages), as well as his lectures, retreats, and innovative education models, have ignited an international movement to awaken people to be mystics and prophets, contemplative activists, who honor and defend the earth and work for justice. To the Catholic Missionaries in Africa. The monjerio also served as a training school in which girls and widows were confined much of the time. 2, pp. 186-189. 27. Hispanicization implied much more than simple religious instruction. At least nine Christian rebels were captured and imprisoned at San Diego. Corporal punishment was indeed an important feature of mission routine. Despite the absence of motivation for personal gain the missions nevertheless destroyed those people they had been sent to save. Mission Indians were without medical assistance and were often attacked with fevers. From Paraguay to New Mexico and finally north to California, missions implanted Spanish culture and religion upon native peoples subjected to them. 2, pp. Diseases, starvation, filthy and crowded living conditions, cruelty and torture–but also depression killed the mission Indians. 9. Infrequent visitors to the California coast are the only available source of comment by outsiders. The Spanish Visitor General wrote to Serra’s close friend Friar Palou that they should “not teach the Indians how to write; for I have enough experiences that such major instruction perverts and hastens their ruination.”, This too followed the methods of the slavery plantations where reading and writing were forbidden. 2, pp. To California’s Franciscan frontiersmen residence in a mission was an essential ingredient in a recipe whose final product was to be good Christians and loyal subjects. They are a people without education, without government, religion or respect for authority, and they shamelessly pursue without restraint whatever their brutal appetites suggest to them. 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. For the Indians it signified the beginning of brutal suffering and cultural genocide. See Fray Vicente Fuster to Fray Junípero Serra, San Diego, November 28, 1775. Historia de Mexico, Primera Serie, tomo 2. 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. Expediente on diseases of the Indians by José María Benites, Monterey, January 1, 1805, Santa Barbara Mission Archives (SBMA). Pope Francis and Father Junipero Serra: Sanctifying slavery and genocide. Escapees in concert with non-mission natives frequently made violent and sometimes successful resistance to recapture. Fray Francisco Palóu provides a lucid description in Maynard Geiger, Palóu’s Life of Junípero Serra, pp. The San Diego History Center is funded in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and by the County of San Diego. Finally, by 1836 the Mexican Republic forcibly stripped the padres of the power to coerce labor from the Indians and the mission rapidly collapsed. They were subsequently sentenced by Borica to receive from twenty-five to seventy-five lashes and to work in shackles at the presidio from two months to a year.21, In this and subsequent testimony efforts were made to determine causes for desertion. 449-458. Maynard Geiger, Palóu’s Life of junípero Serra (Washington, D.C., 1955), pp. Married couples were considered most difficult to teach because of ingrained beliefs and lifestyles. For the 2,000 enslaved people brought into the state during the Gold Rush and granted freedom in 1850, the … The Spanish missions of California have long been misrepresented as places of benign and peaceful coexistence between Franciscan friars and California Indians. The Spanish first began to settle in California in 1769, founding the first Spanish mission, Misión San Diego de Alcalá. 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. As an essentially Western faith, Christianity requires an understanding and acceptance of basic Western values. There were special circumstances in which the restriction against leaving the mission was relaxed. The best curanderos and curanderas have been procured. 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. Soldiers were later sent into the hills to try and capture those responsible for the insurrection. Through comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western By Matthew Fox. Lead extract, used as a curative contributed to illness and death in the long run.26. Also Lasuén to Fray José Gasol, San Carlos, March 30, 1801, Ibid., pp. MISSIONS as developed in Spain’s colonial empire have not only been characterized as frontier institutions, but from their inception they have been a controversial feature of the Spanish frontier. The results were people wrenched from home, tradition and family, subjugated to an alien culture and contradictory values. Lower level of the San Diego History Center See Fermín Francisco de Lasuén to Fray José Gasol, San Carlos, December 29, 1800. The maternal love of the Catholic Church embraces all people. California Fugitive Slave Act of 1852: In 1852, pro-slavery forces in California pushed a law through the legislature that put many blacks at risk of being forcibly deported back to slaveholding states in the south – and to lives of brutal indentured servitude. He was the first outsider to visit the missions, arriving seventeen years after its founding. 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. If he escape, to reside with his relations in the independent villages, he is summoned three times to return, and if he refuse, the missionaries apply to the governor, who sends soldiers to seize him in the midst of his family, and conduct him to the mission, where he is condemned to receive a certain number of lashes, with the whip.11. 1, p. 442. At the same time he doubted the feasibility of his method. about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can Syphilis, introduced by single soldiers, was the major cause of mortality and declining birth rates since it caused sterility and was passed on congenitally. 16. The missionaries were, however, not blind to the effects which their well-intentioned efforts had upon the Indians. Trans. Indians lived in crude huts and life was carefully regulated by the ringing of a bell. Fray Mariano Payeras to the College of San Fernando, La Purísima, February 2, 1820, Engelhardt Transcript, SBMA. Oloton was flogged for ignoring his wife after she had sinned with a vaquero. Significant reductions in Native American population occurred mostly through introduction of European diseases. 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. Such is the character of the men we are required to correct, and whose crimes we must punish.16. Vasali Turkanoff, Statement of My Captivity Among the Californians, trans. 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. 10. 6. 2. Fray Mariano Payeras to Fray Baldomero Lopéz, La Purísima, July 26,1820, SBMA. Barbarous and fierce people need punishments and penalties which differ from those applied to cultured and the civilized people, the argument ran. Event & Exhibition Updates As many as 10,000 California Indians, especially children, were kidnapped and sold into slavery … 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. This separation of children from families was justified since at a tender age they had not fully developed fixed habits and beliefs and thus were more easily influenced by missionaries. In Washington, DC. in Antonine Tibesar, The Writings of Junípero Serra, (Washington, 1956) vol. The reduction process was not necessary where missions were located among sedentary people. 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. To add your comment, please click, Rev. Trans. Father President Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, Refutation of Charges, San Carlos, June 19, 1801. 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. By Letter to the Editor. The regimentation, organized labor and extreme paternalism of the missions resulted in despondency and weakening of desire to live. Absent Indians were hunted down by other mission Indians, soldiers, or a combination of both. Craven Street Books, 2015, 249 pp. in Finbar Kenneally, The Writings of Fermín Francisco de Lasuén (Washington, 1965) vol. 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. collections@sandiegohistory.org These commentaries demand equally cautious interpretation. It is the sorrowful experience of 51 years that Indians live poorly in the missions. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. $19.95. Despite denial by the Fathers, nearly all witnesses cited excessive flogging, hunger and the death of relatives. The neophytes the friars chose to carry out the priests’ commands were “like the overseers of a slave plantation: passive beings, blind performers of the will of their superiors (friars).” They beat any Indian, no matter what age or sex, who violated mission rules. 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. In 1806-1807 a deadly epidemic of Another measles and dysentery ravaged the Indians and in the words of Father Mariano Payeras it “has cleaned out the missions and filled the cemeteries.”25, A letter written by Father Mariano Payeras to Father Baldomero Lopéz, Guardian of the College of San Fernando, in which he echoed a plea for medication for syphilitic neophytes suggests that venereal disease was a prime cause for debilitation of neophytes. Physical punishment of neophytes was therefore a topic infrequently mentioned by missionaries. 1. He was kept tied to a stake all day, but he died soon and they kept his corpse tied up.12. 2, pp. The tendency is to blame the missionaries for the near extinction of mission Indians. do about them. Congregation of California natives into missions was theoretically not forcible. The Franciscans in California were only dimly aware of the ideals of human freedom popularized by the Enlightenment, and certainly had little sympathy for them. La Pérouse left a picture of a highly regularized communal system in which transgressions of rules made by the Franciscans were swiftly punished. 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. Colonial stocks. Communities were critical to the inseparable dual functions of missions, Christianization and Hispanicization. Natives were not irrevocably bound to missions until baptism, which commonly took place two or three months after instruction in Catholic doctrine began. Diseases, starvation, filthy and crowded living conditions, cruelty and torture–but also depression killed the mission Indians. When Indians killed a priest who was especially cruel in his whipping they were caught and sentenced to fifty daily lashes each for nine days and to life sentences of hard labor. The witnesses went on to catalog other abuses although hunger was cited as the most prevalent reason.22. In New Mexico, for example, the Franciscans simply superimposed missions upon pre-existing native communities. 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. Had done, reactions were defensive inflicted upon mission runaways when captured be assigned the! Convulsions and spasms, was punished swiftly and certainly leaving the mission system and. Although abuses over a period of time had built up resentment those responsible the. A special compound along with small children the results were people wrenched home... Of San Fernando, La Purísima, July 2, 1806, Archivo General de La Nación indeed!, founding the first time! the presidios were also asked to report on punishments used at the death relatives! 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