header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
51°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 11
1920 - Warrant issued for actor Tom Mix to appear in Newhall Judge J.F. Powell's courtroom on reckless driving charge [story]
Tom Mix


Caroline Ward-Holland and Kagen Holland

Caroline Ward-Holland and son Kagen Holland

[KHTS] – A Santa Clarita Valley woman and her son are leading a 650-mile pilgrimage to all of the California missions in protest of Wednesday’s canonization of Father Junipero Serra, the original architect of the mission system.

Caroline Ward-Holland and her son, Kagen Holland, are Tataviam descendants from the Castaic area. Their ancestors have been living in the Santa Clarita Valley for 1,600 years.

“After hearing Pope Francis announce that he was going to give sainthood to Serra, I was appalled. I was literally sick to my stomach,” Ward-Holland said. “He was at the forefront of all the authorities to my family and he is going to be granted sainthood?”

Ward-Holland and her son were originally going to walk from their family’s home to the San Fernando Mission but decided to walk to all 21 California missions, starting at the northernmost and working their way down the coast to San Diego.

The pair have been joined at various stages of the walk by other native community members and have garnered a fair amount of media attention along the way. They were expected to be in Carmel, where Serra is entombed, on Wednesday.

Follow their trip on the website, “Walk for the Ancestors.”

Serra's grave marker at the Carmel Mission.

Serra’s grave marker at the Carmel Mission.

“We are the first people of this nation,” she said. “(Serra’s canonization is) an insult. It’s disrespectful. It’s saying (we) are second-class citizens.”

From 1769 until his death 15 years later, Serra worked in California as part of the Spanish empire’s expansion from Mexico City. Serra founded nine missions from San Diego to San Francisco from age 55 until his death at 70.

Serra initiated the building of the missions that line California and remain a top tourist attraction, according to a CNN report. Every fourth-grader in the state must learn the history of the 21 Spanish missions.

650walk-missionmap“It wasn’t that that the native peoples were dragged into the missions by force, but they kind of had little choice in some senses because there at least was some kind of food there,” said Professor Robert Senkewicz of Santa Clara University, in a CNN interview.

Once in the missions, the Indians were baptized and couldn’t leave without permission.

If they didn’t return on time, the priest would dispatch soldiers and other mission Indians, “and they would forcibly bring people back to the mission,” Senkewicz said. “It’s an odd sort of thing which is very difficult to understand now because people were invited into the mission.

“When they were returned, the punishment was flogging, and the flogging was very severe and it was very, very intense, and it was meant to be a painful deterrent,” the historian added. “And the flogging was pretty brutal at times.”

No documented evidence exists, however, that Serra himself flogged or used corporal punishment on the Indians, according to the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

650walk_massgraveSerra often distanced himself and his missions from the soldiers’ garrisons, and he “was constantly critiquing the military for its treatment of the Native Americans,” including rape of Indian women, said Fr. Ken Laverone, a church canon lawyer and a Franciscan in Sacramento who as vice postulator is two degrees removed from the Vatican in Serra’s canonization process, according to CNN.

“The historical record of this era remains incomplete due to the relative absence of native testimony, but it is clear that while missionaries brought agriculture, the Spanish language and culture, and Christianity to the native population, American Indians suffered in many California missions,” according to the official California school curriculum, from a CNN report. “The death rate was extremely high. Contributing factors included the hardships of forced labor and, primarily, the introduction of diseases for which the native population did not have immunity. Moreover, the imposition of forced labor and highly structured living arrangements degraded individuals, constrained families, circumscribed native culture and negatively impacted scores of communities.”

Ward-Holland said the Pope “is putting a rubber stamp of these actions being OK.”

An estimated 300,000 Indians were living in California prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1769. Within a couple of decades, their population was reduced to about 150,000.

650walk_carolinenativeThousands of Native Americans are buried in mass graves under the missions, according to CNN and Ward-Holland.

“They discovered St. Peter’s remains under the Vatican. They are adorned in gold,” Ward-Holland said. “Our people are under a parking lot without so much as a marker.

“I don’t understand why they would reward someone who was so horrible.”

Francis, the first Latin American pope, advanced the sainthood for Serra because he was “one of the founding fathers of the United States” and a “special patron of the Hispanic people of the country,” according to a CNN story.

650walk_groupFor many Native Americans, Latinos and others, Serra was no saint, and his pending canonization makes an old wound bleed again, according to CNN. But to those who champion the missionaries’ daring foray into the dominion of American Indians, the sainthood heralds an apotheosis for the padre who brought the word of Christ here.

Many people in Ward-Holland’s family are Catholic. Her father was an altar boy.

“I will sit there and mourn our ancestors (during the canonization),” Ward-Holland said. “The cross is no longer a sign of Christianity. It’s a sign of slavery. Genocide is what Serra did.”

 

650walk_walkmap

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

7 Comments

  1. Jamie Sands Jamie Sands says:

    Caroline Ward Holland 😀

  2. Waste of hiking shoes! Get over it, the missions are great!

  3. The missions are on par with concentration camps and plantations in the south. Sexual assault and slavery happened.

  4. Eddie Adame Eddie Adame says:

    Isn’t a saint A good thing I’m confused somebody please help me

  5. Joyce Barnes says:

    I was born in Ventura California and always had great love for all of the Missions and the man that was given the credit for founding them. I am not Catholic but have respect to and for this Pope Franis and consider this Canonization as a great honor.

  6. mboron says:

    People hear stories but know little or nothing of
    the real history of Fr. Serra and the Missions, nor the part the Spanish conquistadors played in
    the life of Indians in California. Read some real
    history books that show how people in general lived and worked in those days. Nothing was easy.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, May 10, 2021
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: County Reaches 24,000 Deaths; SCV Cases Total 27,798
On Monday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed four new deaths and 179 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 27,798 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Monday, May 10, 2021
Children Age 12-15 OK’ed for COVID-19 Vaccine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15 Monday.
Monday, May 10, 2021
May 12: Enrollment for Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Opens this Week
Starting Wednesday, May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program which sets out to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1920 - Warrant issued for actor Tom Mix to appear in Newhall Judge J.F. Powell's courtroom on reckless driving charge [story]
Tom Mix
On Monday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed four new deaths and 179 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 27,798 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: County Reaches 24,000 Deaths; SCV Cases Total 27,798
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office has reported 10 productions filming in the Santa Clarita Valley aka "Hollywood North" the week of Monday, May 10-16, 2021.
Filming This Week in SCV: ‘Good Trouble,’ ‘For All Mankind,’ ‘The Terminal List,’ 5 More Productions
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15 Monday.
Children Age 12-15 OK’ed for COVID-19 Vaccine
Starting Wednesday, May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program which sets out to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic.
May 12: Enrollment for Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Opens this Week
The Tom & Ethel Bradley Center at California State University, Northridge has received a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize some of the approximately 22,000 images in its Farmworker Movement Collection that tell the story and document efforts to unionize farmworkers in the 1960s and early 1970s.
CSUN Receives NEH Grant to Digitize its Farmworker Movement Collection
Saugus Union School District board members discussed a back-to-school update for the 2021-22 school year during the regular board meeting Wednesday.
SUSD Discusses Full-Time Instruction, Distance Learning for Next Year
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor has announced plans to reopen on Saturday, with a number of COVID-19 safety measures in place.
Hurricane Harbor Plans to Reopen May 15
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday he’d be expanding the state’s economic stimulus program to middle-income families that make up to $75,000.
Newsom Expands State Stimulus Program, Unveils $100 Billion Recovery Plan
Warmer weather and winds are set to return to the Santa Clarita Valley Tuesday, bringing with them elevated fire weather conditions.
Winds Set to Bring Elevated Fire Weather to SCV
America’s Job Center of California announced it will host a job recruitment on Thursday, May 13 for various positions for Aerotek in Palmdale, Santa Clarita, and Lancaster.
America’s Job Center to Hold Virtual Job Recruitment for Aerotek
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Missing Persons Unit investigators are asking for the public’s help locating At-Risk Missing Person Christopher William Conrad.
Investigators Seek Help Locating At-Risk Missing Person Christopher ‘Chris’ Conrad
1877 - Newhall School District formed, upon petition of J.F. Powell and 47 others [story]
Newhall School kids
1990 - Gene Autry's elderly horse, Champion, put to sleep; buried at Melody Ranch [story]
Champion
1875 - John F. Powell, an Irish immigrant, becomes Justice of the Peace [story]
John F. Powell
Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced the introduction of Senate Joint Resolution 5, urging the federal government to immediately pass a correction to the Social Security formula to protect benefits for millions of Americans who turned 60 during the pandemic.
Wilk Introduces Resolution Urging Congress to Amend the Social Security Average Wage Index
The Santa Clarita City Council will consider allocating a little over $3.5 million in federal funding intended to support low- and moderate-income residents with decent and affordable housing and economic opportunities.
City Council to Consider Federal Funds in Support of Future Local Affordable Housing
The owners of Maria’s Italian Deli in Newhall, past and present, celebrated the restaurant’s reopening Wednesday, following last year’s announcement it would be closing its doors after 47 years.
Maria’s Italian Deli Celebrates Reopening Under New Owners
After publicly expressing their support for hosting live graduations earlier this year, William S. Hart Union High School District officials outlined their proposed plans for the Class of 2021 ceremonies during their Wednesday night governing board meeting.
Hart District Outlines Plans for Live Graduations
After plans fell through for a $100 million mall expansion that would have brought a second Costco to the Santa Clarita Valley, representatives from the big box retailer reached out to city officials to see if they could still make a second location a reality.
Costco Still Seeks Second Location in SCV
Nurses Week is underway and the Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) is calling on registered nurse volunteers to assist with Covid-19 vaccinations at the Kedren Community Health Center in partnership with International Medical Corps.
RNRN Calls on Nurse Volunteers to Administer Covid-19 Vaccine Doses
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced it will begin a phased reopening of jail visitations at the Century Regional Detention Facility starting on Mother’s Day weekend, with all other locations predicted to reopen in June.
May 8: LASD Announce Jail Visitations to Resume at Century Regional Detention Facility
Calling all high school and college seniors – the city of Santa Clarita Arts and Events Division is seeking 2021 graduates to exhibit their 2021 graduation caps in a virtual gallery.
June 1: Deadline Set to Enter City’s Virtual Graduation Cap Photo Exhibition
On Friday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed 16 new deaths and 421 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 27,766 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: Daily Hospitalizations Hit New Low in LA County; 27,766 Total SCV Cases
%d bloggers like this: