SEPTEMBER 25, 2005


As Pope Francis held a special mass in Washington, D.C., to officially pronounce Junipero Serra a “saint,” California Indians, descendants of the survivors of the genocidal California Mission system, expressed shock, anger, and mourning over the impending declaration by holding simultaneous vigils of mourning and truth-telling at Mission San Carlos, Carmel by the Sea; Mission Dolores, San Francisco; Mission San Juan Capistrano; and Mission San Diego.  Leaders of the event called for attendees to wear black.  Numerous California Indian nations and Native American organizations issued statements strongly opposing the canonization of Serra and calling on the Pope to reverse it.  On September 7th, Tataviam descendants Caroline Ward Holland and Kagen Holland began the “Walk for the Ancestors,” a 650-mile pilgrimage to each of the 21 California Missions to “honor the Indigenous ancestors who suffered and perished in the Mission system and assert California Indian rejection of sainthood for Junipero Serra.”

Source:  Dan Bacher, “California Indians to hold day of mourning as Pope Francis canonizes Junipero Serra,” Red, Green & Blue, 9/23/2015.  Retrieved 7/15/2020,
Drawing:  Author unknown, circa 1700.  Drawing of Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó (18th-century work), Baja California Península, New Spain.  Public Domain. 

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