Since I work in high tech, sometimes I’ll find myself in California, in the Bay Area. Since my family has been in the South for thousands of years, I always wonder about the people who were in California first.
We don’t know the stories because they have been hidden from us because they are horrific, and they are diametrically opposed to the Doctrine of Discovery (the international law that is the reason our country exists).
One thing I’ve always wondered when I’m in California is the story behind El Camino Real. After some googling, I found out that the name translates to “The Royal Road”. There were the “king’s roads” throughout the southwest (even Texas). The one in California seems to follow the 101, and connects the missions. It’s a huge touristy thing: travel the El Camino Real, visit the missions…..see how California came to be thanks to the “gentle and hospitable” padres who maintained the roads and offered a place of respite in the “wilderness”.
But what about the people who lived in California before the Spanish came? The native peoples of California were enslaved by the Catholic Church, horribly mistreated, and murdered. Their bones are buried on the mission grounds, and many of the missions don’t even have markers for them. Or their bones are actually laying on top of the ground still , to this very day. El Camino Real has been called these people’s Trail of Tears.
The Doctrine of Discovery described the original inhabitants of the Americas as brute animals, and “the lawful spoil and prey of their civilized conquerors”. It’s the reason why today you can walk into one of their missions and walk on a parking lot that covers a mass grave, or pick up someone’s bone off the ground in a garden as a souvenir to take home.
Some of the descendants of the original people of California recently held a Walk for the Ancestors, visiting each of the missions to honor their ancestors who died at the hands of Catholic Church authorities such as the newly sainted Junipero Serra (the Spanish missionary who was literally responsible for many of the Church’s atrocities… how does that even happen!) The folks organizing the walk blogged about what they experienced, including many links to historical information. Here are their stories from the missions near Silicon Valley:
- I was floored with their story of when they got to the mission in Santa Jose: they were welcomed into the church but then urged to come back to Catholicism!
- Read the story that gives the history of what the Mission in Santa Clara did to the native peoples. A death rate of almost 90% (7, 076 burials and 5,691 baptisms and 2,446 births between 1777 and 1840), yet no marker for the thousands who died because they were captives of the mission.
- Did you know there is a mission in San Francisco? It’s called Mission Deloris. 80% of the 6,682 indigenous people baptized there between 1776 and 1850 died, and there is no marker for their graves. It is believed their bones are scattered under the streets and buildings around the mission.
I urge you to read their posts to learn more about the real history of California.
Those of us in IT are the ones that are designing, building, managing and protecting the digital world that people use to store the information of our shared histories. Be curious about what is around you, the ground that you walk (or drive) on to get to work every day.
Find out what really happened.
Without a doubt, this is the song for this post.