St. Junipero Serra statue vandalized; graffiti calls him ‘saint of genocide’

Print More
Chief Tony Cerda (L) of the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe of the Ohlone Nation and Rudy Rosales, Tribal Chairperson of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Natio, stand next to a statue of Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra at the Carmel Mission in Carmel, California, in this file photo taken September 15, 2015. Vandals in California on Sunday toppled a statue of Junipero Serraat the Catholic mission in Carmel where he is buried.   Photo by Michael Fiala courtesy of Reuters

Chief Tony Cerda (L) of the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe of the Ohlone Nation and Rudy Rosales, Tribal Chairperson of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Natio, stand next to a statue of Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra at the Carmel Mission in Carmel, California, in this file photo taken September 15, 2015. Vandals in California on Sunday toppled a statue of Junipero Serraat the Catholic mission in Carmel where he is buried. Photo by Michael Fiala courtesy of Reuters

Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content by logging-in here.

Vandals topped the statue of the saint, canonized by Pope Francis last week, at the Catholic mission in Carmel, Calif., where the controversial 18th-century Spanish friar is buried.

  • Pingback: St. Junipero Serra statue vandalized, graffiti calls him ‘saint of genocide’ - mosaicversemosaicverse()

  • Bernardo

    Genocide involving the North and South American natives started long before Serra as killing, scalping, kidnapping and theft were in high gear between various tribes were quite common.

  • Larry

    Not really. Killing, kidnapping and theft are not genocide per se. They are warfare.There is little evidence demonstrating entire people’s being wiped out in Pre-Columbian inter-tribal warfare. They just didn’t have the ability to do it, nor was it even sought out.

    That added bit of biological warfare and technological superiority allowed warfare against native peoples to become outright genocide.

    Serra’s goal was to wipe out and assimilate the existing native culture to turn people Spanish. Even if he had little hand in the outright mass murder of native people’s, the mission system he worked with kept people as slaves (although not referred to them as such) and exploited them as free labor.

  • Bernardo

    “Excavations at the Crow Creek site, an ancestral Arikara town dated to 1325, revealed the bodies of 486 people–men, women, and children, essentially the town’s entire population–in a mass grave. These individuals had been scalped and dismembered, and their bones showed clear evidence of severe malnutrition, suggesting that violence resulted from competition for food, probably due to local overpopulation and climatic deterioration. “

  • Larry

    “probably due to local overpopulation and climatic deterioration.”

    Eco-cide. Environmental disaster destroying a culture. What is believed to have wiped out the Mayans. Contrast to the wholesale destruction of the Aztecs and Incas which was for the purposes of taking their stuff, land and making them Spanish.

  • Bernardo

    Might want to read Stephen Ambrose’s book, Lewis and Jefferson. Said natives were not a peaceful group before or after the white man showed up. So maybe Serra had it right? Then there is the evolutionary rule of Survival of the Fittest. (and the smartest?)

  • Ted

    Hm. I’d have thought our scientistic atheists to be above the fundamental logical error of judging past facts by an idealistic moral framework from the present.

  • “Supporters acknowledge corporal punishment was used but contend it was common practice at the time.”

    I love watching Christians suddenly become moral relativists whenever their ugly history is brought up.

  • Larry

    It actually says more about the people beautifying him today and their values than the values of the person being beautified. How much are you willing to overlook in the modern era.

    Religious believers are hypocrites when it comes to the differences between absolutist and relativistic moral considerations. They whine about moral absolutism when it comes to criticizing their past. But then they have the nerve to pretend they are morally superior for being moral absolutists.

    Of course even that is untrue. Religious believers believe any act is considered moral if God allegedly approves it. The ultimate relativists.

  • Joanna MCGinn

    It’s too easy to ‘cast stones’ in the light of today’s ethics. As a history teacher, raised in California, taught primarily in California and have visited ALL of the missions, I’ve noticed one thing. There is always an herbal garden for healing herbs. If you want to lay the ‘slave’ stories, put it on the MILITARY who went with Serra, not the monks themselves, although, since they were primarily Spanish, probably had racist thinking that was prevalent in that day… which unfortunately Spaniards still have today. LA Unified recruited from Spanish universities to fill bilingual classrooms but had to buy out their contracts and send them home at the end of the first semester because their racist and arrogant attitudes toward other Hispanics, especially Mexicans was so rude and intolerant that they could not allow them in the classrooms. The monks thought they were doing good. Often they had to protect the natives from the military predations.