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Saints and Citizens

Saints and Citizens: Indigenous Histories of Colonial Missions and Mexican California

Lisbeth Haas
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 262
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  • Book Info
    Saints and Citizens
    Book Description:

    Saints and Citizensis a bold new excavation of the history of Indigenous people in California in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, showing how the missions became sites of their authority, memory, and identity. Shining a forensic eye on colonial encounters in Chumash, Luiseño, and Yokuts territories, Lisbeth Haas depicts how native painters incorporated their cultural iconography in mission painting and how leaders harnessed new knowledge for control in other ways. Through her portrayal of highly varied societies, she explores the politics of Indigenous citizenship in the independent Mexican nation through events such as the Chumash War of 1824, native emancipation after 1826, and the political pursuit of Indigenous rights and land through 1848.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95674-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction: Saints and Indigenous Citizens
    (pp. 1-12)

    A Chumash artisan at Mission Santa Inés painted the Archangel Raphael as a Chumash leader thereby attributing the powers of Raphael to the Chumash figure and Chumash authority to a Christian saint (See Figure 4 in chapter 3). Indigenous translators, writers, and painters in colonial and Mexican California left records like this one that invoked Indigenous leadership and native access to power. Collectively they created documents that expressed an array of political visions and demands.

    The representation of this figure as a saint corresponds to at least one translation for the wordsaintin an Indigenous language of California. In...

  6. 1 Colonial Settlements on Indigenous Land
    (pp. 13-49)

    This chapter examines the processes of colonization in Chumash and Luiseño territories and identifies the relationships that Yokuts villages established with particular missions, even as they remained independent of colonial control. Not withstanding the specific history of each Indigenous territory, a colonial geography emerged that encompassed many independent tribes. Referring to the many who fled the missions, and to the independent native societies that stole and rode the horses, the missionaries spoke ofcimarronesand anApachería. These words identify colonial geographies that associated California with the Antilles and other areas of northern Mexico, respectively.

    The missions formed part of...

  7. 2 Becoming Indian in Colonial California
    (pp. 50-82)

    The vernacular Spanish that Indigenous people learned at Mission La Purísima in 1800 was spoken by the troops in California and contained elements of other Indigenous languages in Mexico. Fray Gregorio Fernández wrote that the common Spanish vernacular spoken by the missionaries, soldiers, and Indians consisted of “a mixed language of Otomite, Mexicano, Apache, Comanche, Lipan.” The vernacular, he emphasized, “is what is used by the troops.”¹ In defining the vernacular as such, Fray Fernández identified a language that had traces of Indigenous speech and experience from the long colonial history of conquests that the military had undertaken.

    Fray Fernández...

  8. 3 The Politics of the Image
    (pp. 83-115)

    Writing about colonial Mexico, Serge Gruzinski argues that images were preeminent in the Spanish politics of colonization and cultural mestizaje. He elaborates on the intensity and significance of the visual world Spanish and Indigenous painters created during the sixteenth century in Mexico.¹ David Freedberg emphasizes the inherent ambiguity of images. Despite restrictions placed upon them to control their meaning, from the perspective of the viewer, there are many ways images can be received. W. Mitchell emphasizes the life that images acquire as they are viewed.² These scholars reflect on the critical and multifaceted role visual culture plays in the structuring...

  9. 4 “All of the Horses Are in the Possession of the Indians”: The Chumash War
    (pp. 116-139)

    In 1824 Chumash leaders at Missions Santa Inés, La Purísima, and Santa Bárbara organized a major war against the missions and government. In preparation, the leaders sent beads to the Yokuts villages of Tachi, Telamni, Nutunutu, Wowol, and Suntaché and asked them to join. The people of Tachi and Telamni refused the beads. The village of Nutunutu accepted them, but apparently did not join the war. The people of Wowol and Suntaché took the presents and headed for Mission La Purísima on the day that the war began.¹ During the four-month period it lasted, more than one thousand people from...

  10. 5 “We Solicit Our Freedom”: Citizenship and the Patria
    (pp. 140-163)

    Emancipation from the state ofneófiaconstituted the first step in attaining citizenship. Emancipation from that condition of being bound to the mission began in California on a provisional basis in 1826. It continued long after the final Decree of Emancipation and Secularization passed the California Legislature on August 9, 1834.

    Emancipation was a process unique, in the Mexican Republic, to California. Prior to Independence, the colonial government had secularized the missions in the colonial center of Mexico, and then in Mexico’s north, including Sonora and Texas. During the colonial period, the government referred to the process of releasing Indigenous...

  11. 6 Indigenous Landowners and Native Ingenuity on the Borderlands of Northern Mexico
    (pp. 164-180)

    Documents produced from 1834 to 1846 referred to the Indigenous population asindiosorindígenasand frequently continued to employ the colonial termneófito.But a broader set of references also existed that reflected the expanded Indian peasantry and citizenry that emerged after 1826. Some Indians would be referred to, or referred to themselves, as Mexican citizens and asgente de razón.Others referred to themselves assegregados, emancipados,andlicenciados,legal statuses that set them outside the control of missionaries and administrators. The settler population tended to be the ones who received the designationciudadanoorvecino,and the...

  12. Conclusion: Indigenous Archives and Knowledge
    (pp. 181-186)

    An important group of Indigenous citizens emerged in California during the Mexican era, but the California state constitution effectively revoked their citizenship rights after the region became part of the United States in 1848. When the California constitutional convention debated Indian suffrage in 1849, José de la Guerray Noriega, the representative from Santa Bárbara, spoke through a translator against excluding Indigenous people from the vote. He argued that they had done “all the work that was seen in California. . . . If they were not cultivated and highly civilized, it was because they had been ground down and made...

  13. APPENDIX Population Data for Five Colonial Missions
    (pp. 187-194)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 195-222)
    (pp. 223-246)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 247-256)