California Tribes Denounce Catholic Church's "Fraud" and "Blatant Fabrication" on Serra Sainthood
Several representatives of California tribes held a press conference Tuesday at Washington D.C.’s Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ to proclaim the opposition of more than 50 tribes to the canonization of Junipero Serra, which is set to take place just down the road on Wednesday afternoon. One speaker called the canonization mass that Pope Francis will conduct “a disastrous celebration of slavery and cultural termination.” [Read: Why Serra Should Not Be a Saint, by scholar Jacqueline Hidalgo.]
At the heart of their objection is Serra’s role in creating and overseeing a system of missions that they say enslaved and brutalized Indians, forced religious conversions, and destroyed communities and culture in ways that continues to harm Native people today. Donna Schindler, a psychiatrist specializing in “historical trauma” said she is a lifelong practicing Catholic who has left the church due to the Serra canonization, the result of which will be the “re-wounding” of the descendants of mission Indians, who struggle with depression, domestic violence, substance abuse, and teen suicide rates that are triple the national average.