Courtesy Carmel Mission/Facebook
Vandals toppled this statue of Junipero Serra four days after Pope Francis went ahead with his canonization.

‘Saint of Genocide’ Message Left at Mission Carmel After Serra Canonization


Four days after Pope Francis went through with the canonization of Junipero Serra—despite protests from numerous Native American groups—a statue of Serra and some gravesites were vandalized at Mission Carmel, where Serra is buried.

Police say the vandals struck sometime late Saturday, September 26 or early Sunday morning. They splashed green and white paint around the cemetery, wrote “Saint of Genocide” on a headstone, and toppled a Serra statue.

Carmel Police Sgt. Luke Powell told the Los Angeles Times that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime because the vandals targeted “specifically the headstones of people of European descent, and not Native American descent.”

Powell also said investigators were reviewing surveillance footage to identify those responsible, but had no leads as of Monday morning.

San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission was founded by Father Junipero Serra on June 3, 1770, soon after his arrival in California in 1769. Under the mission system, California’s Native people endured torture, brutal slavery, abuse land theft, as well as the loss of their culture, languages, and spiritual practices.

“Mothers would give themselves abortions so their children would not have to suffer abuse. These stories have been passed down to us from our mothers and grandmothers. We want people to know the truth, not the historic myth that surrounds these missions,” explained Caroline Ward Holland, who is currently doing a 650-mile journey of all 21 missions to honor indigenous ancestors who suffered and perished under the genocidal policies of Serra.

RELATED: Walk for the Ancestors Brings Attention to Mission System, Rejects Serra Sainthood

RELATED: 4 Native Entities That Opposed the Canonization of Junípero Serra (to No Avail)

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talyn's picture
Submitted by talyn on
Investigated as a hate crime. How bitterly ironic. Perhaps if you are an organization which justifies unspeakable abuses in the name of your god, you should be prepared to accept this as the cost of doing business. Although, I fear I find it suitable that the Roman Catholic Church should have a Saint of Genocide. They have needed one for a very long time. Too bad they will call him something less honest.

tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
I am surprised this story is even being acknowledged or reported by the "ICTMN staff". This is in light of ICTMN capturing and REPEATING exclusive reports or stories of alleged historical atrocities being committed by the Catholic church and Saint Serrano. It is no wonder some have taken "justice" in their vigilance of hate and radical change. It would do ICTMN to reign in some of the radical writer exclusive reports of hate especially toward....non_native ppls.

ArrowD's picture
Submitted by ArrowD on
This Pope is insane. He assaults all free thinking people. He assaults Christians especially though radical change in doctrine, and this canonization is the last straw.

Shotgun John's picture
Shotgun John
Submitted by Shotgun John on
The choice of this... person, for sainthood was at the very least insensitive and uncaring. While other found the Pope's visit uplifting, I have found this incident (and many others) to reveal a less inspiring view of his holiness. In many of his speeches it seemed he was trying to insult targeted groups of Americans, and in some cases trying to provoke them. Certainly not the kind of message we had hoped for from a Christian leader. I hope this stupid, insensitive, insulting incident will not further strain relations between Native Americans and Christian Americans. We face a time in this world when we need each other more than ever before.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Give it a break tmsyr11! If you don't like what you read on ICTMN why do you continue reading? Life is too short to spend on things that get your panties in a bunch, why not just watch Glen Beck or Bill O'Reilly and be happy with that drivel instead? You're like White people who claim "reverse-discrimination" whenever minorities complain about Black Lives Matter or Native women being abused, or unfair treatment . . .