American Academy of Franciscan History
Spanish missions are seen by many indigenous people and scholars alike as sites of profound loss. Across the Borderlands of North America, the native individuals and families who entered mission establishments faced terrible and often lethal challenges posed by introduced diseases, strict labor demands, corporal punishment, and unsanitary conditions. In California, as elsewhere, death was part and parcel of the mission experience for many indigenous neophytes as well as the resident Franciscan missionaries. This chapter explores how native people and Franciscans in Alta California negotiated their divergent but deeply held views about what constituted proper death, burial, and mourning practices. These issues are examined using evidence drawn from pre-Contact archaeological sites, ethnographic information collected by early anthropologists, mission-era archaeological deposits, and from the writings of the Franciscans and other contemporary observers. I argue that native neophytes in Alta California persisted in honoring their dead in culturally appropriate ways while the Franciscans varied in their attitudes toward indigenous mortuary practices.
Franciscans and American Indians in Pan-Borderlands Perspective: Adaptation, Negotiation,and Resistance
Jeffrey M. Burns
Timothy J. Johnson
Panich, Lee M. (2018). Death, Mourning, and Accommodation in the Missions of Alta California. In Franciscans and American Indians in Pan-Borderlands Perspective: Adaptation, Negotiation, and Resistance, edited by Jeffrey M. Burns and Timothy J. Johnson, pp. 251-264. American Academy of Franciscan History, Oceanside, California.