TOPIC: Indigenous

Mission Carmel Vandalized Days After Pope Francis Canonizes Junipero Serra

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09.28.15 - Today, as a parish celebration of the sainthood of Junipero Serra was scheduled to take place at the Carmel Mission Basilica, a statue of Serra was toppled over and paint was smeared on two grave sites, as well as on signs with the name of Serra, and on the doors of the mission. One mission artifact was inscribed with the statement, "Saint of Genocide". As founder of the California mission system, Junipero Serra oversaw the enslavement and torture of tens of thousands of Native Americans. Serra symbolize the genocide to many people, and his remains are buried at the Carmel mission. Despite widespread objections, Junipero Serra was canonized on September 23 at the National Shrine in Washington DC by Pope Francis during his US visit. Carmel police have said in the media that no Native American tombstones were vandalized, only the graves of Europeans. Read…

Santa Cruz Rally in Solidarity with Indigenous Movements to Oppose Sainthood for Serra

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06.15.15 - Local residents rallied is Santa Cruz on June 14 to oppose the Catholic Church's plans to canonize Junipero Serra this September, which was approved by Pope Francis. Serra presided over the brutal California mission system during its founding in the 18th century. The purpose of the rally was to educate the public about the Native American lives that were lost at the missions and the torturous conditions that were imposed there, as well as to encourage community members to contact Priests and other religious and spiritual leaders, including the Pope, in order to attempt to change his mind about granting Serra sainthood. Read…

Demonstration at Mission Dolores Opposes Sainthood for Junipero Serra

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05.05.15 - On May 2, Native American community members and Interfaith supporters, including clergy leaders, demonstrated outside of Mission Dolores in San Francisco to oppose the impending canonization of Junipero Serra by the Catholic church. Pope Francis has reaffirmed his decision to name Junipero Serra a saint, despite strong opposition from Native Americans who say the man is responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people when he helped to establish and then presided over the California mission system in the 1700s. "My ancestors were directly enslaved at Mission Dolores here, and at Mission San Jose in Fremont, and I want to make sure that the Vatican knows that we, and Native people allies, do not agree with the canonization of Junipero Serra," said Corrina Gould, who is of Karkin and Chochenyo Ohlone ancestry. Individuals of Coastal Miwok and Chumash ancestry, two other Californian tribal groups gravely affected by the establishment of the mission system, also spoke at the demonstration. Read…

John Swett High School Mascot, Indians, Removed after 90 years

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02.19.15 - Alumni from John Swett High School, Molly Batchelder initially reached out to Wounded Knee Deocampo, Elder Advisory for SSPRIT, wanting to decolonize her high school mascot; Indians. In late 2013, SSPRIT successfully consulted and advised in the removal of the Vallejo High School Mascot; Apaches. This removal inspired Molly to request assistance. AIM West and ACLU were contacted to assist, as they had provided support with the decolonization of the Vallejo High School Mascot. Read…

There is No Drought: California’s Twisted Water Ways

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12.26.14 - For millions of years, the rivers lacing through the lands now known as California meandered freely from the mountains to the oceans. Rain fell on the robust redwood forests in the north, slowly trickling through layers of soil, sand, and rock to fill the streams and aquifers that in turn fed the rivers. Where these rivers met the ocean, as they still do today in the Bay Delta, marshy estuaries flourished with abundant wildlife. Humans arrived, the ancestors of surviving native peoples like the Ohlone and Winnemem Wintu, and they lived in balance with their home for thousands of years. There were wet years and there were dry years, but the healthy network of natural aquifers continued to sustain life. Read…