California Missions

Hilary Garman
Mr. Harper/ Mr. Hibbard
English 11/1st period / US History/ 6th Period
November 28, 2009

      The Impact of the Franciscan Missions on the California Indians

      On July 16, 1769, a group of Spanish Soldiers and Catholic Priests, known as the Franciscans (named after Saint Francis of Assisi) established the first mission of California. It was called Mission San Diego de Alicia, and was the first in 21 set up along California’s southern coastline. This mission and many others were about to impact the Indians of the area for many years to come. The Mission was ran by Friar Junipero Serra, a Spanish man inspired by the work of Saint Francis of Assisi, a saint that was known for helping others and putting others before himself. This was a key roll in the development of the missions since there purpose was to bring the work and the word of God to the native people this as well meant converting the Indians to Christianity. Although the Spaniards and Franciscans brought agriculture, technology and other new ideas, their presence brought assimilation, diseases, essentially enslaving the native people and rebellion.

      The converting of beliefs was highly visible in the work of the Franciscans but the larger results were in the physical and cultural parts in the relationship between the Franciscans and the natives. The fathers did take interest in the native people’s culture, “as much as the Franciscans were teaching the natives European culture, from trade and crafts to music and the Spanish language. They made it a point to learn the local’s language and customs,” (Yenne 16). The Franciscans saw the native people for more than a community of nomads but people they could invest time in the improvement of their lives. The work wasn’t only in the missions itself but in “the missionaries [that] changed the way of life for the native peoples in many ways. The Franciscans taught them agriculture which fundamentally changed the culture of the...