Name That People Group

New game today kids. It’s called “Name That People Group!” It’s a sad little tale. Let’s begin. Names have been changed to protect identities (but don’t worry there’s a big payoff at the end if you make it that far).

The Setup:
“People Group A” moved to Location L, build Places To Live P, and forced “People Group B” to live in those places they built. That’s the setup.

that’s a lot of letters. Still with me?

People Group B didn’t fare so well at their new digs. Let’s review how they fared:

* More than half of the children born died before making it to 5

* Deaths exceeded births

* More than a third of babies born were born dead

Very sad, eh? Well why didn’t they get up and leave? Couldn’t!

* Missing a “meeting:” punishment was being stripped, put in stocks, five to ten whippings. Friends, family and children forced to watch

* Running away: fifty lashes

* Praying to the wrong guy: fifty lashes

* 40% tried to escape. Top reasons given by them: hunger, starvation, punishment, sickness, death of a loved one, or “I wanted to go home.”

Bummer! Let’s keep going and see how they scored in health care:

* Tuberculosis, pneumonia, diphtheria, measles killed thousands.

* Number of doctors available: 1

Not looking too good! Death by starvation, disease, punishments, and war. Let’s see how the girls did.

* Rapes – the second leading cause of death was syphilis

* People Group B babies routinely strangled by their mothers if the father was People Group A rapist

Yuck! Let’s see what the administrators of these fun little places to live had to say:

“The treatment shown to the is the most cruel I have ever seen in history. For the slightest things they receive heavy flogging, are shackled, and put in the stocks, and treated with so much cruelty that they are kept whole days without a drink of water.”



“There are so many deaths, and few births.” On their outlook: “Sickness is always with us, and I fear it is the end for the race.”

Oh, and that’s just the stuff fit to print. It gets worse for People Group B once People Group C shows up! But we’ll skip that. But let’s find out who they were. First of all, the “places” – concentration camps? Nope! Internment camps? Nope! Gulag? Nope! Prisons?? Ha ha nope! They were catholic missions! Built to help People Group B find Jesus! That’s right – churches!

Here’s what A’s main dude had to say:

“We came here for the single purpose of doing them good and for their eternal salvation, and I feel that everyone knows we love them.”

Yeah, sounds like it. Love hurts, huh.

Ok, but thank heavens this happened way far away, right? Like somewhere completely backwater – Spain, maybe. Australia. Right? Nope! California! The above speaker was none other than Father Junipero Serra, which for anyone that grew up around here knows, hey he’s a famous guy, streets named after him in the OC, all that good stuff. California Missions! Why, we all had to make little models of them in grade school. Mission San Gabriel is just a stone’s throw from my own front door. Mission Santa Barbara, just up the freeway. Mission San Diego, just down the freeway. Btw Mission San Diego was a fun place – before he was clubbed to death, one of its administrators, Father Jayme, had this complaint to file about the sport of roping and raping women:

“Many times they have come here to kill us all because soldiers went into their villages and raped their women … I feel very deeply about the fact that what the devil does not accomplish among the pagans, Christians will accomplish.”

Good times, no? Sounds lovely. The mission in my own back yard, Mission San Gabriel, that must have been a much better place. Nope! Unfortunately there was so much baby killing, one of the administrators tried to stop it. He took one of the moms, “having her head shaved, having her whipped daily for fifteen days, having her feet bound in irons for three months, and having her appear every Sunday in church at the alter with a hideously painted wooden child in her arms.” Pretty crummy church, huh. I’d think about finding a different moms’ support group if I was that lady.

And who were People Group B? California Indians! Chumash, Miwok, Modoc, and the like. You’ve never heard of them but – they did know their conifers. (Different story.)

I thought all this was very sad. It just goes to show – everyone needs Jesus – particularly the folks on the church payrolls.

Hey look, it’s Sunday today. Church day for some. I wonder what the big guy upstairs thought about those spanish missions. I wonder what he’d think of your mission? Or mine.

Source: “Digger: The tragic fate of the California Indians from the missions to the gold rush”, Jerry Stanley