It would appear that the decision by Pope Francis to canonise the Majorca Father Junipero Serra who ruled over the Spanish missions during Spain’s colonisation of California in the 18th century has caused some controversy.
Pope Francis hailed Father Serra as “the evangelizer of the West in the United States”, but some prominent Native Americans see Father Serra as far from saintly.
Indian historians and authors blame Father Serra for the suppression of their culture and the premature deaths at the missions of thousands of their ancestors and this week the Grup Serra, which publishes the Daily Bulletin, received a copy of a letter which has been written by a tribal chief to the Pope urging him to over rule his decision to canonise Serra.
Andrew Salas is the Tribal Chairman of the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians - Kizh (Kit’c) Nation and in his letter he states “There is a horrific history of the Missions of California that was headed by Father Serra.”
The Tongva tribe is the generic name for three tribes which lived on the south coast of California during Spanish colonisation in the 18th century, but their history can be traced back to the 16th century.
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