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Indians, Franciscans, and Spanish Colonization: The Impact of the Mission System on California Indians

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Pages: 214

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:4/1995 - Univ of New Mexico Pr

By: Robert H. Jackson, Edward Castillo

This ethnohistory examines Indian life in the twenty-one missions Franciscans established in Alta California. In describing how the missions functioned between 1769 and 1848, the authors draw on previously unused sources to analyze change and continuity in Indian material culture and religious practices. The twin goals of Franciscans were to mold Indians into a work force that would produce surplus grain for military garrisons and to regulate their moral conduct and religious practices. The authors use production records to show the missions were quite effective in serving the economic goals of Spanish colonialism on the Alta California frontier. Even after Mexican independence when the Church's role diminished, Indian labor continued as a mainstay of much local, seasonal work. The special concern of this study is to assess efforts to transform the culture and world view of Indians. Acculturation to mission life by California's native peoples is carefully assessed to delineate how they coped, their history of disease and death, and their efforts at resistance and cultural survival, especially following decrees issued in 1833 that secularized missions.  


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