Talk:Mission San Fernando Rey de España

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Why the prehistory of the native American peoples?[edit]

This discussion has been moved to Talk:Spanish missions in California. Mdhennessey (talk) 06:39, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Extreme bias[edit]

My comments: THIS PARAGRAPH REPRESENTS EXTREME BIAS AND NEEDS TO BE REMOVED AND REPLACED. The source is from a Franciscan monk from the early 20th century when European cultural superiority was widely accepted. Englehardt's writings were intended to memorialize the great works of the Spanish mission fathers who came to California in the late 17th century. Though his histories are extensive and revealing, they have to be read in that context of his bias toward the missionaries and his bias against the indigenous peoples of California. The sentences - 'Prior to the establishment of the missions, the native peoples knew only how to utilize bone, seashells, bush, and wood for building, tool making, weapons, and so forth. The missionaries discovered that the Indians, who regarded labor as degrading to the masculine sex, had to be taught industry in order to learn how to be self-supportive.' - suggests an inferiority of Indian culture - that they were primitive. The indigenous culture dates back to 9,000 or even 15,000 BCE - and the entire time they were SELF-SUPPORTING. The tools that the native peoples made - flint knives for cutting, steatite bowls for cooking, bows and arrows to settle disputes and hunt were sufficient to maintain their culture and supplied them with what was required without enslaving people unlike the Spanish invaders who came and exploited both the land and the people for the service of their ideologies and their King. Indian men and women lived in sovereign tribes and were unused to working for others in foreign systems that served others. The natives did not have to learn manual trades to be self-supporting, they had to learn manual trades to support the missionaries, the soldiers, the colonists, and the Court of a far distant King in a land that they would never visit. It is no wonder they were reluctant to work when these agrarian systems imposed upon them denied them access to their own land, culture and sovereignty. Missionaries, soldiers, gold miners, government bureaucrats and later anthropologists came with a European bias against cultures that hunted and gathered - the Europeans and Americans lacked understanding of the complexities of hunting wild animals and tending the wild for cultivation and reduced it - in their minds- to "primitive" activity. We now know better. In the early years, the mission efforts were supported by their hunting and gathering. Later on, it became harder and harder to hunt and gather because the missions took the best coastal lands and enslaved many Indians - tribes without a critical mass of hunters and leaders could no longer support successful huntsCite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). . Criticism aside, the last statement is a good one - the neophyte population supported all of California's economy - the Mission fathers, the soldiers, the bureaucrats, and the European colonists until the Gold Rush years - even after, the economy was built on their largely uncompensated labor - an unacknowledged debt we still own the Indians to this day. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pamela.nagler (talkcontribs) 17:33, December 30, 2012‎

Further comments: Overall good edit. I would remove "great" and just make it "manual training school". The Franciscans viewed indian resistance to their new status as farmhands and cattle herders in simple terms - that the male Indians saw farm work as an affront to their masculinity, when actually it was much more complex than that. Both male and female Indians lost their autonomy when they entered the mission system either by coercion or their own supposed 'free will" They lost their homeland, their connection with their community, their freedom, their way of life, their identity. (There are so many reasons why they converted - hunger (a big reason) after their lands had been encroached upon), curiosity; efforts to cope with new diseases that they could not cure with their time-honored practices; hoping to avoid rape, etc. Indian lands were seized without consent, areas that had been tended by natives were plowed under and sown with European mono-crops, livestock was allowed to range free - which destroyed both hunting and gathering areas; Indian villages were raided and Indians rounded up and brought to the missions where they converted so that they could be with their family members who were also rounded up, Indian women were habitually raped and the Indian men who defended them were killed. Once in the mission system, runaways were roundly punished, girl children were separated and kept under lock and key, and always their were guns, cannons and endless rounds of lashings for even small digressions.)

Anyway, yes, the Indians who hunted and tended the wild pre-invasion were unaccustomed to laboring in the fields and working with domesticated animals, so the Franciscan fathers and their displaced Baja Christianized Indian servants did have to teach the local Indians how to raise and caring for the livestock, along with other European agricultural and mechanical processes. They were a conquered people - even Engelhardt talks about the Spanish invasion in terms of the Conquest - so the issue of subjugation has to enter in here. How much of the mission effort was really about training in the "manual training schools" and how much was just out and out labor is a topic for discussion. After picking the fields one day under the supervision of a Franciscan father or Indian arcade with a whip, how much is training and how much is just back-breaking work?

An interesting account of time spent as an incarcerated farmhand and carpenter at MSF around 1816 and thereafter can be read in Vassili Petrovitch Tarakanoff"s Statement of My Captivity Among the Californians. Labor as an affront to masculinity or as pure enslavement?

Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources [Paperback] M. Kat Anderson (Author) is a good resource for the complexities of Native American food gathering.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Pamela.nagler (talkcontribs) 19:59, December 30, 2012‎

I agree that the bias against native industry should be removed or countered. I know that a number of authors have discussed how the Native American agriculture system was unidentified by the Spanish who had no idea that a carefully thought-out and well-implemented agriculture program could be so wild looking, without plowed or furrowed fields, without granaries to store food. Check out the text and sources we have at the following articles: History of California#Pre-contact period, History of California to 1899#Pre European settlement, Indigenous peoples of California#Precontact. Basically, the natives...
The Spanish did not recognize any of this because it looked nothing like European farming. In fact, this conclusion about low impact native agriculture did not become part of California scholarship until the 1990s when Kat Anderson and Tom Blackburne published Before the Wilderness: Environmental Management by Native Californians. You are right to be concerned. Binksternet (talk) 21:26, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Nice analysis. I think the entry on Mission Industry at Mission San Fernando would still be better if "great" was deleted from the description "great manual training school". It was a manual training school of sorts, but not great. Some of the "training" was just largely uncompensated labor undertaken in less than favorable conditions that bordered on slavery, if not in fact, pure slavery. Even though the Spanish government initially intended the neophytes to inherit the land and industries where they labored, this never materialized. In the 1830s, Mexico secularized the missions and very few neophytes inherited the land they worked. By the time California became a state in 1850, very few Indians laid claim to any mission land.Pamela.nagler (talk) 02:04, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

I went farther than that and reworded much of the paragraph. I think it is free of overstatement and bias now. Take a look and see if you agree. Binksternet (talk) 02:47, 31 December 2012 (UTC)