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Saints and CitizensIndigenous Histories of Colonial Missions and Mexican California$
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Lisbeth Haas

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276468

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276468.001.0001

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Colonial Settlements on Indigenous Land

Colonial Settlements on Indigenous Land

(p.13) 1 Colonial Settlements on Indigenous Land
Saints and Citizens

Lisbeth Haas

University of California Press

Chapter 1 examines the specific histories of colonization among Chumash, Luiseño, and Yokuts peoples. The chapter presents two indigenous territories where six missions and, in Chumash territory, a presidio settled. It incorporates the independent tribes that existed on the boundaries of settlement into this understanding of colonial geography. The chapter argues that the missions became sites of native authority and of indigenous memory, identity, and historical narration. They were also sites of colonial relocation, disease, and high numbers of deaths. Each mission developed its own character, because of the indigenous societies and geography they were part of. They developed their own identities and practices. Indigenous elders frequently translated Spanish catechism and prayer, and kin played the role of godparents, creating indigenous reflections on and interpretations of the ideas encountered therein. Indigenous translators rendered the Catholicism taught, and elders passed down historical accounts of the era of colonization that differed from Spanish historical imaginaries. The Yokuts remained independent of Spanish colonization, and yet they established long-term relationships between specific villages and particular missions. Yokuts territory also became a place of exile for Christian Indians, and the villages all possessed horses from the missions. This chapter situates Yokuts history within the circuit of violent relations that began with colonization and characterized northern Mexico.

Keywords:   Chumash Indians, Luiseño Indians, Yokuts Indians, colonial translation, California Indian languages, colonial geography, colonial Spanish Empire, Spaniards and Indians, Franciscan Missions of California, Cimarrónes or Maroon Colonies

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