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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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“All of the Horses Are in the Possession of the Indians”

“All of the Horses Are in the Possession of the Indians”

(p.116) 4 “All of the Horses Are in the Possession of the Indians”
Saints and Citizens

Lisbeth Haas

University of California Press

After 1821 indigenous people became equal before the law in Mexico; the government mandated that the term indio be replaced by citizen. A government representative arrived in California and announced Mexican independence and the impending move to legislate indigenous equality and citizenship. In 1824, a Chumash war broke out at three missions that Yokuts and others helped sustain. The war lasted four months, until a pardon allowed over one thousand Chumash to return from exile in Yokuts territory to the missions built on Chumash lands. The war and its causes are often attributed to the new conditions of citizenship. Chumash accounts, however, focus on indigenous belief, authority, and ritual objects of power that fostered the survival of their leadership. Chumash accounts also emphasize the violence, sorrow, and uncertainty that it produced, considerations absent in other records of the event. The chapter argues that indigenous people had a distinct politics from that imaged for them by missionaries, the military, and the government after 1821. While their demands would acclaim their new rights, Chumash histories of the 1824 war focused on indigenous political visions, ritual power, and figures of authority. The chapter also argues that the political transformations–from being legal minors to being Mexican citizens–are also prominent in the shift from a colonial geography to one marked by national concerns.

Keywords:   indigenous citizenship, The Cortez of Cadiz, anthropologist J. P. Harrington, indigenous citizenship, Bancroft Narratives, Mexican nationalism

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