Wally Gobetz/Flickr Creative Commons
A statue at Old Mission Santa Barbara depicts Franciscan missionary Junípero Serra. Pope Francis announced on January 15, 2014 that Serra would be canonized—making him the newest Catholic saint, and calling Native Americans to protest.

Disrobing Junipero Serra: Saint or Monster?


On May 30, the public is welcome to attend a discussion on the Sainthood of Junipero Serra and the real history of California missions hosted by the Barbareño Chumash Tribal ’Iyalmuwič Council and The American Indian Movement of Southern California.

The two organizations have brought together some of the Native community’s most notable academics and leaders to lead two panels at The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara at 1535 Santa Barbara St., in Santa Barbara, California.

The first panel begins at 9:30 a.m. and will discuss the International Ramifications of Canonization. According to a release about the event, the canonization will affect the entire Western Hemisphere, and this panel will expose the iconic California Mission system, which has long been held by the Catholic Church as a golden era storyline. The second panel will be held at 1 p.m. and will discuss Catholics and Christians against Canonization, and how Serra’s impending sainthood should not be a “Natives vs. Catholic” issue. Panelists will discuss how sainthood is attained and how Serra met those requirements, as well how this situation involves historical trauma and self-determination.

Another event to oppose Serra’s canonization will be held May 31, this one will be an Honoring the Ancestors Ceremony at the Santa Barbara Mission at 1 p.m.

“The Vatican’s decision to canonize Junipero Serra validates the genocide of California Indians. We cannot ever forget our ancestors, and the truth shall be heard. Our truth is our light of healing and moving toward self-determination,” said Marcus Lopez Sr., of the Barbareño Chumash Tribal ’Iyalmuwič Council, in a release.

For more information about either event, contact Corine Fairbanks at 805-636-8653 or Marcus Lopez at 805-969-1076.

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