The Journal of San Diego History
Summer 2002, Volume 48, Number 3
Gregg Hennessey, Editor

By Matthew F. Bokovoy

Images from the Article

“Fages would not give this mission more than one-half of half a cuartillo of corn for the Indians from the Californias,” complained Fray Luís Jayme to Fray Rafael Verger, O.F.M., guardian of the College of San Fernando in Mexico City during October of 1772. Jayme was head cleric of the San Diego mission and experienced difficulty bringing new Indian converts into the Mission since the military commander of Alta California, Lieutenant Pedro Fages, drew liberally on its supplies. “We cannot make the natives around here work, and often we cannot teach them the doctrine [Catholicism],” he explained, “because they have to go hunting for food every day.”1 “Thus little progress will be made under present conditions,” Jayme told Verger, “for the example to be set by the soldiers – some are good exemplars – but very many of them deserve to be hanged on account of the continuous outrages which they are committing in seizing and raping the [Indian] women.” Father Jayme believed it scandalous that Pedro Fages considered unimportant the sexual transgressions of soldiers. He had become chagrined that the commander had drafted mission livestock and Indians toward the pursuit of his own riches.2

In his letter to Verger, Jayme spoke of incidents at the Kumeyaay village at the end of Mission Valley, which was located along the coastal plain near False Bay on the road to Monterey. “The gentiles therein many times have been on the point of coming here to kill us all,” said Jayme with great concern, “and the reason for this is that some soldiers went there and raped their women, and other soldiers – turned their animals into their fields and they ate up their crops.” After the incidents, Jayme recommended to Fray Junípero Serra in 1773 that the mission and the gentile village near it be removed from the presidio, following the town planning codes in the Laws of the Indies. At the new location east of the presidio in Mission Valley, he believed that the immoral influences of the lower caste Spanish soldiers could be minimized for both neophyte and gentile Indians alike.3 Dismayed with the actions of Fages’ soldiers, Serra wrote to Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursua, Viceroy of New Spain, and described the terrible incidents. He related how a party of soldiers would visit the Kumeyaay villages, which sent men and women into hiding, and “lasso Indian women – who then became prey for their unbridled lust. Several Indian men who tried to defend the women were shot to death.”4 The incidents most likely lay at the heart of Indian resistance to the Spanish colonization effort in San Diego and all of California. Despite the obvious sense of Christian morality and sympathy in Father Jayme’s intriguing letter, he and others would pay a serious price in 1775 for these sexual transgressions at the heart of Spanish-Indian relations.5

Thus began the difficult task undertaken by the Spanish Crown to colonize the territory known as Alta California in order to stop incursions by both the English and Russians into its sovereign territory. The Bourbon Reforms of 1768 brought a new rationale of empire to New Spain, thoroughly defensive and economic, and limited the power of the Catholic orders in the colonization endeavor. The reforms were meant to make New Spain’s northern provinces self-sufficient. However, provincial officials often carried out the reforms differently on the frontier of empire. Conversion of the Indians in the San Diego region, known as the Kumeyaay Indians, Digueños to the Spanish, proved trying because the colonial imperative consisted of civil, military, and spiritual conquest. Often divided over policies for the administration of the Native Californians, provincial governors, military commanders, and Catholic missionary orders thought only their special care for the Indians would make good Catholics of the indigenous people, transforming them into tax-paying Spanish citizens. Indians themselves participated in church-state controversies, although somewhat indirectly and without clear articulation of intent. Native Californians wielded much influence for a conquered people to shape colonial policy. From the Spanish period (1769-1821) and Mexican Independence (1822-1848), authorities pursued a number of policies aimed to address the plight of Native Californians, sometimes with great compassion but mostly through violent coercion.6

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the history and symbolism of the California Mission became a physical manifestation of the public Spanish heritage in southern California. In San Diego, the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-1916 utilized the history and symbolism of the mission to promote growth and progress. But that was not all. In the early history of the fair, sentiments of romanticism and Christian humanism pervade the historical recollections of the Spanish and Mexican periods. The missions and padres appear as benevolent providers for the grateful Indians, while governors and military officials seem cruel and remorseless. Recently, historians and writers have viewed with suspicion this invented tradition in the region. As the story goes, the retelling of Spanish and Mexican history advanced the commercial purposes and racial agenda of white southern Californians.7 However, I would like to reclaim a deeper and more important set of human sentiments present during the Spanish through the Anglo American periods in the region. Some southern California promoters, in both Los Angeles and San Diego, never lost sight of the long history of conquest, vanquishment, and violence between Spaniards and Indians, Mexicans and Indians, and Anglo Americans and both Mexicans and Indians. Coalescing in 1911, the four-day San Diego Pageant embraced sentiments of cultural pluralism through history and public memory, which commemorated the groundbreaking for the San Diego Fair of 1915. These sentiments, influenced by Progressivism on the West Coast, have always been “there,” but never fully examined with a critical and sympathetic eye.

Anglo Americans were not the first group in California and the West, however, to empower the region with sentimental promise. During the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, Dominican, Franciscan, and Jesuit missionaries, with a handful of Spanish military conquerors, defined what they called “New Spain” as a haven from the corruptions of the Protestant Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment. In the thinking of the Spanish, the region was rife with souls to convert and abundant in land and natural resources. They spoke of the native peoples with both praise and disdain. At least in the Catholic missionary mind, New Spain, including Alta California and New Mexico, became a symbolic place where the primitive precepts of the Church could be reestablished. The Southwest’s indigenous peoples were the perfect human template, uncorrupted by heretical ideas and secular individualism, for the spiritual designs of Jesuits and Franciscans. Should the aboriginal peoples accept the holy faith, they would enter into the imagined community of the Spanish empire and ideally experience the universal humanism embodied by the Catholic Church.8

The landed elite during the Mexican period, known simply as the Californios, spoke of their homeland with much utopian sentimentality as a distinct regional culture different from Spanish-European traditions. It was a conquest culture forged in the New World from native and Spanish customs and racial mixing. Toward the original inhabitants of Alta California, they displayed Catholic empathy, but often infused with the idea that the Indians were in need of benevolent guidance through paternal guidance. Through Enlightenment ideals crystallized in Mexican liberalism, the Californios also formed symbolic cultural and racial ties with the Indians in order to legitimate their right to the Mission lands. Many Mexican liberals viewed the Church as holding Indians and gente de razón settlers from opportunity and progress, while maintaining the economic, political, and social control of neophyte and gentile Indians. It was in San Diego where Spanish colonization and exploration of California began. The cultural and social dynamics between Indians, Spaniards, and Mexicans influenced the remembrance of each successive era in the Anglo American imagination after 1890.9


Legend has it that San Diego became the birthplace of European civilization on the West Coast of North America on 12 September 1542. On that day, the Portuguese-born explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, sailing under the flag of Spain, navigated the easy entrance of what is now San Diego Bay. The two caravels under his command, the San Salvador and the La Victoria, laid anchor behind a tiny finger of land inside the south- facing cliffs of Point Loma, which is now the naval submarine base at Ballast Point. The formidable conquistador named the magnificent port San Miguel Archangel, but we only know the extent of Cabrillo’s thoughts and actions through a summary of his travel log by his ship pilot, Bartolomé Ferrelo. After claiming San Miguel and all of Alta California for the Spanish Crown, Cabrillo and his crew set sail and stopped at one of the Channel Islands, which they named Isla de la Posesión. According to historians Iris Engstrand and Harry Kelsey, Cabrillo died on 3 January 1543, apparently succumbing to a gangrene infection from an arm injury. His crew buried their admiral on the Channel Islands, under the shifting sands of the windy shoreline. They renamed it “Capitiana” in honor of the fallen explorer. The first Spanish exploration party to make it north of the Isla de los Cedros at mid-peninsula Baja California, Cabrillo’s voyage produced the first maps and navigational charts of Alta California. More importantly, Cabrillo’s brief stay in the bay at San Miguel (San Diego) represented the initial cultural contact between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of California.10

Probably members of the Kumeyaay people, the summary of Cabrillo’s journey described the first encounter of Spaniards and native peoples in this uncharted land. As the story goes, the explorer’s party laid anchor in San Diego Bay and sent a landing crew to shore to survey the land, perhaps to search for fresh provisions and wood. They approached the beach in a skiff where native canoes could be seen and many Indians gathered at the water’s edge to inspect the unknown visitors, scattering as the Spaniards neared the shore. The three remaining Indians received gifts given by the landing party. The Diegueños “gave signs of great fear” as they physically described the sightings of other Europeans by the interior Yuman peoples to Cabrillo and his party, which was most likely a detachment from the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s exploration party into the New Mexico and Arizona interior. The Indians indicated that these bearded men carried lances, rode great horses, and brutally slaughtered many Indians. To assuage their fears, Cabrillo and his men gave them more gifts.11

The Spaniards returned near shore in the skiff at dusk that day, but were attacked by some Indians wielding bows and arrows. The Indians “wounded with their arrows three of a party that landed at night to fish,” but Cabrillo restrained his crew from retaliation, convincing them to win the confidence of the offenders with gifts and the holy faith.12 With mutual suspicion and violence, the opening page of history in California began with cautionary actions by both Native Californians and the Spanish. The Kumeyaay attacked first, perhaps, to protect themselves and repel the unwanted visitors, hopefully escaping the fate of the Yumans killed by the soldiers of Coronado. The Spanish initially chose restraint (probably because of the weak condition of its scurvy-ridden crew) so that they might persuade the Indians of Alta California to accept the imperatives of Spanish culture and religion. However, despite the discovery of a rich and abundant land, Spanish colonization efforts would not initially begin until the late eighteenth century.13

The merchant and mariner Sebastian Vizcaíno visited San Miguel Arcangel on November 10, 1602. He had been contracted by the Spanish Crown to re-explore the Alta California coast surveyed by Cabrillo. Along with Juan de Oñate’s expedition to New Spain’s northern frontier in 1598, the Conde de Monterey ordered Vizcaíno to inspect the best harbors for pearl fishing outposts and protection of the Spanish galleon trade from marauding English mariners.14 Landing close to the feast day of San Diego, he renamed San Miguel as San Diego de Alcala. He and his crew stayed ten days at port in San Diego Bay to re-provision the ships and give their hulls a good scraping. As a landing party set out to find food, water, and wood on the twelfth, “a hundred Indians appeared on a hill with bows and arrows and with many feathers on their heads,” recalled the chronicle of the voyage, “yelling noisily at us.” The ensign in charge of the party was ordered to refrain from retaliation if attacked, and Vizcaíno, admiral Toribio Gomez de Corvan, and Father Fray Antonio de la Ascensión approached the Indians, who sent two men and two women to greet them. With the Indian women weeping profusely, Vizcaíno embraced the men and gave them gifts. “Reassuring the others by signs,” reported the chronicle of the voyage, “they descended peacefully, whereupon they were given presents. The net was cast and fish were given them.”15

The expedition had very little trouble with the Kumeyaay during their stay in San Diego. Captain Martin Palacios, the cosmographer of the expedition, remembered in his ship’s log that there were “numerous Indians, with bows and arrows, good people desirous of dealing with the Spaniards.”16 At the end of their stay, Vizcaíno and his men happened upon numerous Indians as they explored the southern bay. An old Indian woman approached the General, and he gave her gifts and food. “Seeing this kind treatment,” noted the chronicle, “the Indians came peaceably and took us to their rancherías” where the admiral disallowed the soldiers to enter, likely fearing they would defile the women. “I do not state, lest I should be tiresome,” the chronicle recalled, “how many times the Indians came to our camps with skins of martens and other things.” On November 20, 1602 Vizcaíno’s expedition left the bay of San Diego thoroughly satisfied that the harbor was good and the Indians peaceful, very much capable of coexistence with any Spanish settlement that might be erected there in the future.17

When Spanish colonization efforts resumed in Alta California during the late eighteenth century, Native Californians proved difficult to subdue. The Kumeyaay, Yuman, Luiseño, and Cahuilla Indians around the San Diego region proved some of the most militant in the Californias. In 1767, José de Galvez, inspector general of New Spain, dispatched orders to settle Alta California. Two ships were went to San Diego under the command of Juan Pérez, the San Carlos and San Antonio. They reached San Diego bay by April 30, 1769. The expedition awaited two land parties led by Captain Fernando de Rivera y Moncada and Gaspar de Portola and Junípero Serra. Once united, the expeditions settled San Diego with both a presidio and a mission. Of his crew of ninety men, many suffering from scurvy, there were only sixteen in good health and Pérez kept the sick aboard the San Carlos and San Antonio. Soldiers guarded the ships closely because the “heathen of the village near the harbor are so inclined to theft that they approached very close to the bark in their little tule canoes and made several attempts to steal what they could lay hands on.” The Spanish could not settle the land safely. When the land expeditions reached San Diego by July of 1770, they hoped to see a mission and presidio, but instead there was only a cemetery and camp for the sick and wounded. As Portola, Serra, and Rivera y Moncada began efforts to build a mission and presidio, local Indians attacked them. Two Spaniards were wounded and one died, a neophyte serving boy whose throat was “pierced by an arrow.”18 And so began settlement in Alta California with the Spanish less than welcome.

Violence and conflict kept the Franciscans and soldiers at San Diego in constant fear of their lives between 1770 and 1775. In the early morning hours of November 5, 1775, the newly relocated San Diego Mission would reap the cost of soldier mistreatment of native women and Spanish disruption of local Indian life. A force of roughly 800 Kumeyaay Indians, from the Supai and Ipai bands, bore down upon both the mission and the presidio. According to Father Francisco Palóu, a separated force consisting of 400 warriors presumably launched simultaneous attacks to eradicate the Spanish from San Diego. However, the combined force ended up at the mission and burned it to the ground, killing three. As the Indians entered the mission compound, most residents fled for their lives to the guardhouse, except Father Jayme. He ran towards the crowd of warriors and shouted “Love God, my sons!” Rather than put their weapons down, the Indians stripped the priest of his clothes and fired arrows into his naked body, “taking his life in such a way that there was not found on his person a single unmutilated spot except his consecrated hands,” which Palóu believed to have been saved by the will of God.19

When word of the revolt reached Monterey, Father Serra reported the terrible news in a letter to Viceroy Antonio Bucareli. Despite the fact that two neophytes had left the mission in weeks prior to the uprising to organize the rebellion and Jayme had died, he urged Bucareli to call off the punitive expeditions of both Rivera y Moncada and Juan Bautista de Anza. He also asked for more soldiers. However, Father Serra would not always rule out punishment for rebellious neophytes on the mission frontier. “What I say is that, in order to prevent them from killing others,” pleaded Serra, “keep better guard over them than they did over the one who has been killed; and, as to the murderer, let him live, in order that he should be saved.” Bringing souls into the holy faith, said Serra, “is the very purpose for our coming here, and the reason which justifies it.” He urged that the perpetrators be pardoned “in accordance with our law, which commands us to forgive injuries.” In his call for military restraint, which was most likely a realization that the Kumeyaay were formidable and capable of future militancy, Serra asked “let us prepare him, not for death, but for eternal life.”20 When Rivera y Moncada’s men followed one of the perpetrators, a neophyte named Carlos, into the mission as he sought sanctuary there in February 1776, Father Vincente Fuster excommunicated the captain from the church.21

The revolt of 1775 revealed important problems with the colonial encounter between two vastly different peoples. As the Spanish settled Alta California, Native Californians suffered from the introduction of European infectious diseases like measles and smallpox. They had no natural immunity against the new pathogens. The mortality rates for Native Californians stood somewhere between sixty-seven and ninety-eight percent over the period 1780 and 1834. As a result, the local Kumeyaay limited contact with the Spanish, except in those terrible cases where Indian women were defiled by soldiers and infected with venereal diseases. Between 1776 and 1803, the San Diego Mission grew from roughly 100 to 1,587 neophytes.22 But the figures can be deceiving and cover the impact of infectious diseases, substandard diet, and problems of cultural adjustment to the mission routine. Although the birth, death, and baptismal records for 1769 and 1775 were destroyed in the mission fire, Serra and Fuster tried to reconstruct them from memory and conversation with neophytes. Between 1776 and 1803, there are 1,322 deaths recorded for the mission. The register of baptisms for the same period of time noted 3,090 baptisms, suggesting that 1,768 neophytes were alive by 1803. Since 1,587 are estimated to have lived at the mission, about 181 Indian converts resided elsewhere, likely in villages nearby. It is difficult to know how many gentile Indians died of epidemics or other causes, but the death rate must have been somewhere around thirty to forty percent. The villages that participated in the revolt against the mission were located near major Spanish land routes that ran both north and east where the most direct contact occurred.23

Father Jayme and Father Vincente Fuster had baptized only fifty-five Indians by October 1772, which suggests that the Kumeyaays avoided contact with both the mission and presidio. However, as Father Jayme reported more incidents of rape against Indian women, the number of Indian converts in the mission increased. Father Serra estimated that 114 Indians had been baptized at the mission by 1774. Father Fuster remembered about 480 Indians had been baptized by himself and Jayme during 1775, about 100 of those just before the November 5, 1775 revolt.24 The Indians that came to the missions from 1772 to the months prior to the 1775 revolt were likely “rushing” the mission. Indians often overwhelmed the friars with converts and tested the meager resources of the mission in order to destroy it and gain inside knowledge of the mission compound, information useful for any future revolt. Father Jayme remembered that “on the one hand I am happy that we have converted [some of] the heathen, on the other hand it grieves me sorely to see that for lack of food we shall not be able to teach them everything that is necessary.” After all, it had been the neophyte Carlos and another Christian Indian, trusted by Jayme and Fuster, who had left the mission to organize the revolt. The strong sentiment of Catholic humanism embodied in Jayme’s letter to Raphael Verger and his disgust with the treatment of Kumeyaay women mattered little in the end. The Franciscan father was merely one of many innocent casualties in the process of cultural conquest and encounter where Native Californians bore a horrendous burden.25

At the turn-of-the-nineteenth century, San Diego became a more established settlement that achieved complete self-sufficiency, like most of the California missions after 1790, with agricultural surplus evident and Spanish control of the local Kumeyaays secured. In 1808, the Franciscan fathers began construction of a more substantial mission compound, which was completed in 1813 amid the beginning of the war for Mexican Independence.26 By 1817, San Diego neither achieved great prosperity nor experienced economic decline. The Governor of California Pablo Vincente de Sola characterized the situation at San Diego as “uneventful”; it was the “dullest place in the province” according to historian Hubert Howe Bancroft. San Diego, like other Spanish jurisdictions in Alta California, had virtually no ranchos between 1810 and 1834, those large land grants in the thousands of acres granted to civil and military administrators for service to the Mexican government. There would be twenty-nine ranchos granted very slowly after 1821 in the San Diego jurisdiction until 1848. Before the break-up of mission lands, the Franciscan fathers wielded much power in San Diego, since the mission enterprise produced virtually all goods for the pueblo and presidio with its gardens, livestock, and orchards. The mission lands, presidio, and pueblo became self-sufficient and productive by drafting neophyte and gentile Indians into a complex labor regime that was both formalized and casual, where Indians and Spaniards exchanged labor and goods that brought benefits to both parties. In 1820, the San Diego mission had 9,162 head of cattle, 1,042 horses and mules, and 14,908 head of sheep. The mission Indians, under the discipline and supervision of the Catholic fathers, increased crop production as well. During the unusually abundant year of 1818, the mission produced 13,215 bushels of grain, but the yields could oscillate in dry and wet years between 1,500 and 8,000 bushels annually. The increase in the production of grains and livestock at San Diego was the result of a crude gravity-fed dam and water delivery system made of stone and tile that brought the waters of the San Diego River to the mission, six miles downstream. The best lands for farming and grazing belonged to the Catholic Church, but all this would change as the new Republic of Mexico brought liberal ideals to the provinces between 1821 and 1834 and secularized the missions.27

San Diego Mission de Alcala fell into disrepair as early as the 1820s, when the new Mexican frontier of California made the transition from mission to rancho production. The Colonization Act of 1824 and the Supplemental Regulations of 1828 created the legal environment for both Mexican and foreign nationals to own land in the California’s, serving as an impetus for economic growth. In 1823, Lucas Aleman, Mexico’s Secretary of State, believed that Alta California’s abundance of land and natural resources would solve the problem of administering the Californias. They could be made even more self-sufficient. Neophytes needed to be set free to cultivate the land, however, the very land that the missions held in trust for them until Indians learned Spanish and Christian customs. The implication was that the missions held Indians in a backward state, disenfranchising them from opportunity and progress. Aleman suggested that, “If the mission system is that best suited to draw savages from barbarism, it can do no more than establish the first principles of society and cannot lead men to its highest perfection. Nothing is better to accomplish this than to bind individuals to society by the powerful bond of property.” Influenced by Enlightenment ideas that supported the rights of men to be free in both society and the market, he stated that the “government believes, therefore, that the distribution of lands to the converted Indians, lending them from the mission fund the means for cultivation – would give a great impulse to that important province.”28

Governor José María Echeandía (1825-1830) initiated secularization of the missions and redistribution of their lands in 1830, but his successor, Manuel Victoria, halted his decree and protected the interests of the Catholic Church. When José Figueroa assumed the governorship of California in 1833 after some political intrigue, he issued the Secularization Act of 1833 and finally broke the dominion of the missions over land, labor, and production. But there was some resistence from the padres. Father Narcíso Duran voiced skepticism that the interests of the Church, settlers, and Indians could be easily reconciled under Figueroa’s liberal decrees. He viewed secularization another way and said, “What all believe is that, under the specious pretext of this plan, there was a secret plan for a general sack of the mission property, the leaders in the plot intending to convert as much as possible of the booty into money, to be enjoyed in foreign lands.” In the minds of the Franciscans, redistribution of mission lands and secularization would reward the indolent Spanish settlers with the years of material and spiritual toil suffered by the Church and neophyte Indians. Secularization of the missions appeared both ill-advised and scandalous, motivated not by the liberal ideas of the Age of Revolution, but more by simple greed. While Mexican civil authorities argued for and against secularization, they also lived in constant fear of Indian rebellion. During the same year as the secularization order, rumors spread in California of a possible Indian revolt, both neophyte and gentile, to seize the mission lands in San Diego.29

The power of the Catholic clergy and the missions waned as this important economic engine of the earliest Spanish settlements in California had its lands taken away and given to public officials and military commanders for loyal service. The Catholic missions were divested of their agricultural and grazing lands, some 500,000 acres of prime land in the San Diego jurisdiction. The missions were supposed to cede their lands to neophytes after ten years, hoping they would become self-sufficient Spanish citizens. Mexican liberals justified secularization through both land policies and an “Aztec revival” where Indians and creoles assumed racial affinity as a “cosmic race.” Under this thinking, both parties had been disenfranchised of their freedom and land, oppressed for decades by the ancien régime and the Catholic Church. Mexican California was “in constant trouble on account of the soldiers of the escoltas, often favorites and servants of the padres and corrupters of the neophytes,” Governor Echeandía argued forcefully, “to ensure the integrity of the nation and tranquility and prosperity at home, it was best to abolish once for all the oppression of the neophytes by establishing a secular government, since once converted from slaves to proprietors they would become enthusiastic supporters of the federal system.” Although Echeandía and other liberals united Indians and hijos del país in the social imagination, this idealistic scenario also never came to fruition.30

Eulalia Pérez, a washer woman at Mission San Gabriel, remembered events surrounding secularization. She recalled that, “When Captain Barroso came and excited the Indians in the missions to rebel, telling them that they were no longer neophytes but free men, Indians arrived from San Luis, San Juan and the rest of the missions.” Some Indians stayed at the mission and most were glad to be released. With the redistribution of mission lands, Mexican settlements in California achieved prosperity. Rather than the Church, which had formerly sustained the settlements after 1790, rancheros dominated the rural economy of California and developed a profitable hide and tallow trade from former mission lands. Native Californians, in reality, were never given much land and took their place as laborers, cowboys, and servants on the ranchos, likely because working for the grandees assured them of clothing, food, and shelter. As the Mexican-American War approached in 1848, the lands of San Diego Mission de Alcala were held in the hands of rancheros like José María Estudillo, Santiago Arguello, Domingo Carrillo, Don Juan Bandini, and Juan María Osuna.31 And with this transition, the powerful influence of the missions came to an end. The Anglo American imagination of the late nineteenth century, however, would infuse the Spanish and Mexican era with a sentimentality that never existed. In this romantic recollection of days past, the California Mission symbolized an Eden lost.


When Mexican California made the transition to American rule after the region was annexed by the United States in 1850, the influence of the Californios and Mexicans waned. The majority of Anglo American travelers and writers portrayed both the elite Californios and working class Mexicans with insensitivity and with racial prejudice, employing words such as “dirty,” “indolent,” and “thieving” to describe the region’s conquered inhabitants. As Mexican Californians became less of a factor in population, politics, and economic life, therefore less threatening, Anglos recalled the Spanish and Mexican eras with romantic fondness. The romance surrounding the Spanish missions became a main feature of southern California promotion. However, those involved in historic preservation in San Diego embraced humanist sentiment in their endeavors, creating the primary historical metaphor for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915.32

The creation of the modern Spanish heritage in southern California began with the Indian reform surveys of Helen Hunt Jackson in 1881. During the time of the Social Gospel movement nationally, she and Abbott Kinney of Los Angeles assisted the Mission Indians with the improvement of their living conditions and their land battles. However, Jackson was not previously involved in social reform nor much inspired by Christian duty. Jackson published A Century of Dishonor (1881), a study of the disenfranchisement of Plains Indians, particularly the Poncas of Nebraska and Oklahoma. She believed that the “great difficulty with the Indian problem is not with the Indian, but with the Government and people of the United States,” and concluded that it “makes little difference, however, where one opens the record of the history of Indians; every page and every year has its dark stain. The story of one tribe is the story of all.”33 Jackson was deeply involved with the plight of Indians from Warner’s Ranch, owned by Jonathan Trumbull Warner (Juan José Warner). Located near Temecula and Hemet, John Gately Downey bought the ranch lands in April 1880, after its designation as a reservation was terminated. Appointed to the commission to investigate the condition of the Mission Indians by Hiram Price, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in July of 1882, Jackson was afraid Downey would eject the Indians from his land. She wrote a fiery letter to Charles Dudley Warner, editor of Century Magazine. “There is not in all the Century of Dishonor, so black a chapter, as the history of these Mission Indians – peaceable farmers for a hundred years – driven off their lands like foxes and wolves,” fulminated Jackson, “driven out of good adobe houses and the white men who had driven them out, settling down calm and comfortable in the houses! – What do you think of that?” Jackson advised that the treaties governing the Mission Indians and their lands become inviolate and suggested that the Bureau of Indian Affairs ask “What the Indians’ own feelings are about going on reservations.”34

Jackson’s Indian reform activities culminated in her novel Ramona (1884), social protest fiction devoted to the long history of Indian and Mexican mistreatment by whites in California. Jackson wrote to her friend Thomas Bailey Aldrich in May 1883, while contemplating the idea for the novel. She told him that “If I could write a story that would do for the Indian a thousandth part what Uncle Tom’s cabin did for the Negro, I would be thankful the rest of my life.”35 The report on the Mission Indians, in addition to A Century of Dishonor, for the most part, fell on deaf ears. Congress defeated the bills inspired by her investigation and the public had ignored the pleas of her first book. Through her Indian reform activities, Jackson discovered and described the “romance” of the California Missions, which had made an aesthetic impact upon her imagination. Underneath all her sentimentality for the missions lay a deep-seated passion and genuine honesty for the plight of both the Indian and the Mexican in California.

The novel Ramona represented Jackson’s effort to sway public opinion through middlebrow fiction, to reach as wide an audience as possible, and to tone down the diatribe of her Mission Indian report and A Century of Dishonor. The novel was a love story between Ramona Ortegna, an orphaned half-breed raised as “Spanish,” and Alessandro Assis, a “full-blood” Indian ranch hand from Temecula. Mostly a tragic tale of love stolen through racial injustice and murder, Ramona told the larger story of wrongs done to Mission Indians, although romantic and laden with much sentimentality for both the mission and rancho eras. However, Americans assumed the role as villains and oppressors of Indians and Mexicans. While some reviewers understood the Indian reform message of the novel, others hailed it as great romantic Victorian literature. The middle-class reading public fell in love with the romance and mystery of southern California, overlooking her allegory of Indian injustice altogether. By the time she died in 1885, the romance found within the pages of Ramona spawned numerous tourist sites and “Ramona” kitsch and memorabilia. The social politics of Jackson’s novel had been stripped bare by southern California boosters, and the “Ramona myth” ignited the heritage crusade for the Spanish colonial legacy.36

As southern California entered the twentieth century, Jackson’s Indian reform legacy and romantic portrayal of the missions caught the attention of important regional promoters and writers, men like Charles Fletcher Lummis, George Wharton James, and John Steven McGroarty. All these writers, consequently, were also staunch independent progressives who came to support the Mission Indians and the restoration of the missions throughout California. In 1899, W.A. Richards, General Land Office, Department of the Interior, sent Charles Lummis, president of the Landmarks Club, his report on the restoration of California’s missions. His office recommended that the “old mission churches of California are so celebrated that it seems hardly necessary to invite attention to the need of preserving against the ravages of time and possible vandalism.” Lauding the efforts of Lummis to preserve the Indian and Spanish heritage, Richards told him “the only recommendation now to be made is that these historical remains be considered in the general plan of creating the system of national parks.”37 Plans to restore the San Diego Mission began that year as well. While working to restore the old missions, Lummis also turned his considerable energies towards the protection of Cupeño and Diegueño Indians on Warner’s Ranch during 1901 to 1903. The Department of the Interior appointed Lummis to investigate and recommend a new tract of Indian land near the Pala reservation. Lummis first suggested that the BIA allow them to stay on their lands at Warner’s Ranch. The Indians ended up at Pala.38

George Wharton James, a defrocked Catholic clergyman and the finest of writers on California’s Spanish past, believed that Jackson’s government report and her novel were essential for understanding mission history and its Indians. In his book titled In and Out of the Old Missions of California (1907), James revealed that he was “one of the great mass of laymen who love the Old Missions for their own sake, for their history, for the noble deeds they have enshrined, for the good their builders did.” “And more than what they actually did, what they sought to do for Indians,” he continued enthusiastically, “whom the later comers, my own race, have treated them abominably.” James continued the sentiment that the missions and Indians were more complex entities than met the eye of the average citizen. A majority of writers on nineteenth century California portrayed Indians as “one of the most miserable and wretched of the world’s aborigines,” according to James, who believed “yet I think I shall be able to show that in some regards it is a mistaken one.” “I do not believe the Indians were the degraded and brutal creatures the padres and others have endeavored to make out,” he said indignantly, “It is merely criticism of their judgement.” James’ characterization of the Indian and the missions contained both romance and deep sympathy for their history and their “present condition.” In essence, he continued Jackson’s legacy. James made this clear and explained that Jackson’s “indictment of churches, citizens, and the general government, for their crime of supineness in allowing our acknowledged wards to be seduced, cheated, and corrupted, should be read by every honest American.” “Even though it make[s] his blood seethe with indignation and his nerves quiver with shame” continued James, the taking of Indians lands by Anglos was “one of the saddest proofs of the demoralization of this people.”39

Lummis and James became keenly interested and involved years later with both the San Diego Pageant of 1911 and the Southwestern theme of the Panama-California Exposition of 1915. James became a promotional writer for the fair. Lummis assisted local historical restoration and the ethnological exhibits of the exposition. Indeed, civic leader George Marston invited Lummis to speak at the San Diego Women’s Club in January of 1907, where Lummis asked “if at the same time I could do some good to the case of the Mission [San Diego de Alcalá] and to the work of the Southwest Museum, it would be a great gratification to me.” Lummis’ engagement at the Women’s Club spurred further interest in mission restoration. The year 1907 marked the beginning of the heritage crusade in San Diego. Lummis asked Marston and his associates to join in building the Southwest Museum, to make “a museum bigger, better and more beautiful than any other museum in the world.” San Diego’s leaders would not assist in those efforts, but managed to help the Landmarks Club locally. Marston told Lummis, “Mr. Clayton – is suggesting to Mr. Spreckels the repairing or restoration of the old San Diego Mission,” and explained that “Mr. Spreckels interest in the Land Marks Club might lead to an interest in the Southwest Museum.”40 By October, Marston optimistically told his friend that “as the restoration of the Old Missions takes its place in any general scheme of improvement in Southern California, I believe it would be well to initiate our movement among members of the [San Diego] Improvement Committee.” By 1909, San Diego leaders made public calls to restore the San Diego Mission, the very place where, as Father W.F. Quinlan recalled, “the scene of a deadly conflict carried on between the native Indians and a small handful of Spaniards – priests and laymen.”41 The history and memory of the Indians and the missions of southern California appeared to be gilded lilies on the surface. However, influential southern California boosters bound together closely the restoration of the California missions and the plight of the Indian through their practical political activities and stoking the regional imagination.

When San Diego announced its Panama-California Exposition in 1909, the symbol of the California Mission inaugurated the groundbreaking ceremonies in Balboa Park. In 1910, Edwin Clough, chairman of the civic celebration, alerted the San Diego Park Board that “there shall be a picturesque, historical representation under direction of the citizens of San Diego.” “It is believed that out of this material of history and romance something may be made worthy of San Diego,” explained Clough enthusiastically, “something that will attract the attention of the world more closely to a phase of American history but little regarded now in this country.” The chairman’s plea, however, was not entirely sincere, motivated by desires for growth and tourism, for the history of the missions “if made a permanent feature of San Diego life, will redound to the credit and profit of the community.”42 With expo president D.C. Collier working hard for federal approval of the 1915 fair in Washington, D.C., the exposition directorate laid plans in March 1911 for the four-day San Diego Pageant. In order to bring the groundbreaking festivities to realization by July, they hired pageant master Henry Kabierski and the writer John Steven McGroarty to stage historical dramas about the mission era in California.43 The pageantry craze that swept the East Coast during the Progressive Era inspired elaborate celebrations like the San Diego Pageant of 1911. Public ceremonials and parades connected past, present, and future all at once, and represented harmonious depictions of social relations and everyday life. But sometimes there were exceptions to this rule. In the dynamic social politics of staging historical pageants, participants and audiences often quarreled over the larger meanings conveyed in the parades. With San Diego convulsed by the Free Speech Fight (1911) and the Mexican Revolution (1910), it would be no surprise that the city’s variety of people participated unequally in public pageantry, excluded by the powerful elites who organized such events.44

On July 19th, the opening day of the San Diego Pageant, tens-of-thousands-of- people reveled in the carnival spirit. The day concluded with an historical re-enactment of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo’s discovery of San Diego. As the water-born procession neared the foot of Broadway Street at the shore of the bay, the character of Cabrillo triumphantly emerged from a Spanish caravel that had set sail from North Island, a point of land on Coronado in the middle of San Diego Bay. Pageant officials crowned Cabrillo “King” of the event and he proceeded at the head of a large crowd towards the county courthouse. Once there, Queen Ramona, an American women named Helen Richards, eagerly awaited his arrival. King Cabrillo obliged an enthusiastic mob of spectators who “demanded that Cabrillo should crown their queen.”45 In the regional imagination of the San Diego Pageant, white audiences insisted that the “pure blood” European Cabrillo take as his bride Helen Hunt Jackson’s “half-breed” Ramona Ortegna. All was not lost on representatives of the Mission Indians. Anglo spectators awaited with excitement a “squadron of outriders, who were of Mexican and Indian blood and clad in boleros and sombreros” and rode “great, splendid horses.” Contemporary Indian cowboys were the denouement to the evening as John Barrett, the representative of President Taft, and Joseph Sefton, acting Director General of the exposition, concluded the boisterous first day with solemn speech.46

The “Historical Pageant” led the celebration on July 20th and showed audiences the “march of time in the magnificent Southwest, the land of sunshine, of wastes redeemed by living waters from immemorial deserts.” McGroarty reported that the eleven floats of the parade represented a “tribute to the ancient art and skill in engineering which displayed not only the Franciscan Padres of nearly a century and a half ago, but also acknowledged the greatness of the old Aztecs, who made the Southwest their place of dwelling longer ago than the memory of man.”47 The third float, “the next step in the tragedy of the years that saw the fall of Aztec dynasties and the rise of Christian rule,” presented the conquistador Hernán Cortés standing triumphantly over a defeated Montezuma, with his fallen warriors lying about him. McGroarty sympathetically explained how the “picture brought out very vividly the terrible page in history which it was designed to delineate,” for legend has it that the warriors of Montezuma had initially beaten back Cortés, sending him “weeping under the yew tree on that black night of his bitter defeat.” With the San Diego Pageant, McGroarty built upon the Ramona legacy and also one much deeper and farther removed from the present, the Christian humanism of Franciscan padres like Luís Jayme and the liberal imagination of Mexico’s “Aztec revival” in the 1830s. He explained that the whole affair was meant to “carry the people in imagination out of the mists of forgotten times, along the fateful pathways of centuries down to yesterday with a glimpse of the vistas of tomorrow.”48

McGroarty himself would make his contribution to the mission myth and the modern Spanish heritage, much like Jackson, James, and Lummis. He published California: Its History and Romance (1911) one month after the pageant. In his book, McGroarty gave an explanation for California’s perceived backwardness, arguing that the Spanish and Mexican periods were hardly slothful and unproductive. They had been great societies, in his own mind, building civilization on the West Coast with the assistance of Indians. “The time-worn boast that it was due to the superior energy, virility, and intelligence of the Anglo-Saxon will hardly suffice,” claimed McGroarty of California’s development, adding that “the Padres and their Indian neophytes were really the only people who did anything like work.”49 Throughout his coverage of the San Diego Pageant and his California writings, he squarely laid the present problems of California on the altar of American conquest. The Historical Pageant described the brutal Spanish conquest of the New World, but it presented human theater that questioned the violent discovery of New Spain. The pageant also included favorable depictions of the pre-contact societies of the greater Southwest and Mexico.50 In the Los Angeles Times, McGroarty’s description of the Aztec float indicated the imaginative Anglo embrace of Ancient America, revealing a chapter in the history of the Americas unknown to most citizens. He recounted the splendid scene for those unable to attend, where “We saw the priests of that wonderful civilization, which was as old as Egypt – the dullest imagination could not but feel the glamour of another day that faded long before the Atlantic shores of America knew the white man’s footsteps.”51

During the final two days of the San Diego Pageant, audiences gathered in San Diego’s financial district in anticipation of the parade of progress and industry and McGroarty’s Pageant of the Missions, which eventually developed into the Mission Play. On July 21st, a typical industrial parade, which “eloquently proclaimed San Diego’s ever- increasing power as an industrial and commercial center,” moved along Broadway with fifty floats created by commercial, manufacturing, and working-class interests in the city. The militant Longshoreman’s Union contributed a float, as did numerous other fraternal organizations allied with San Diego labor organizations. The “prettiest as well as most impressive display” exhibited by a civic society, reported the Los Angeles Times, was that of the Grand Army of the Republic, which entered a float portraying the “emancipation of the Negro by the heroic soldiers of the Union fifty years ago.” In the late afternoon, the level of excitement reached a heightened pitch with the public reception for Queen Ramona. In the Palm Room at the U.S. Grant Hotel, Ramona’s gala included “the entire population of San Diego and the surrounding country without regard to class, creed, color, or nationality” according to McGroarty’s account.52 This public celebration of civic progress appeared to be an affair marked by social harmony and artistic imagination. Queen Ramona’s reception at San Diego’s fanciest hotel brought together commoners and elites to celebrate their part in building San Diego, perhaps similar to the benevolence and paternalism of those rancho-era fiestas during the fourteen years between 1834 and 1848. However, it was painfully clear who held the reigns of power and who did not. The imaginative tableaux and drama of the pageants celebrated progress, pluralism, and racial harmony over four days, remarkable for a city undergoing immense social conflict. Or course, not all were unified around the pageant. The Building Trades Council withdrew its magnificent twelve floats from the four-day ceremony in protest over working conditions on the fairgrounds. Not one San Diegan or tourist ever saw those floats. However, with so much at stake with the coming exposition, in Congress, in California against San Francisco’s exposition, and even on the fairgrounds, the San Diego Pageant promoted a semblance of local unity in the social imagination.53

On the final day, the very first performance of John McGroarty’s Pageant of the Missions assembled a cast of roughly one thousand actors, actresses, and participants who “represented monks, soldiers, knights, Indians” on twenty-one floats built at the considerable sum of $10,000. Each float represented one of the twenty-one California missions that stretched along the 700 mile El Camino Real. Inspired to write an historical drama about Franciscan-era California in 1909 with the support of Harrison Gray Otis of the Los Angeles Times and Frank Miller of the Mission Inn in Riverside, McGroarty created a harmonious portrayal of the Franciscans, Spanish dons, and California Indians. The Pageant of the Missions proceeded with three acts, all of which portrayed the spiritual conquest of Alta California with sympathy and accounted for the cruelty of military subjugation in the territory. In the play there was the benevolent Junípero Serra, the cruel conquistador Gaspar de Portolá, and happy but ignorant Indians under the watchful care of the padres. The Pageant blended history and promotion, authenticity and myth. From 1912 to 1929, McGroarty’s The Mission Play would eventually attract 2.5 million people. Most performances occurred in an elaborate theater built within proximity of the Mission San Gabriel Los Angeles that railroad magnate Henry Huntington financed at great expense.54

The first production of the Pageant of the Missions carried an unusual message, blaming American annexation of California for breaking the region’s idyllic racial harmony. The San Diego performance differed dramatically from the serial performances of the play throughout the 1910s and the 1920s.55 The pageant featured actors and actresses dressed as Indians, Franciscans, and Californios, and McGroarty portrayed them as morally righteous and culturally superior to the villainous Anglo Americans. McGroarty wrote scripts later that were tinged with racial prejudice and nativism. The first script, however, rendered the Indians and the Spanish as virtuous peoples who became citizens of Mexico, then a vanquished people unwillingly bound to the United States under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The float of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, reported the Los Angeles Times, was shown “as it is today, in ruins.” Don Gaspar de Portolá stood atop the float, obviously the overlord of his indigenous subjects. Junípero Serra followed the float and his “chief assistants, Indian grooms, will lead the horses.” “Soldiers, monks, and Indians” dressed in “seventeenth century” costumes accompanied the float for San Gabriel Archangél and told the history of Los Angeles.56 If McGroarty meant The Mission Play to celebrate uncritically the Franciscans and the Spanish conquerors of California, there would not have been “all the historical associations that surround not only the legends of the founding of the missions, but their actual establishment as well.”57


McGroarty’s record of memories from the mission era covered neatly the brutalities and conflicts that arose from Indian Spanish relations. His Pageant of the Missions furnished one among many enthusiastic and surprisingly positive evaluations of Indians and peoples of Spanish-descent, compared to many of his racist contemporaries. McGroarty helped revise the story of Indians and the missions for the first time since 1848, although Indians, Spaniards, and Mexicans assumed strict roles in the Pageant of the Missions as simple laborers, benevolent padres, and anti-clerics. However, writers like McGroarty, George Wharton James, and Charles Lummis, inspired by Helen Hunt Jackson and her Indian reform legacy and deeper Spanish humanist sentiments, allowed Indians, those of Spanish descent, and mestizos to become vital participants in the California’s official origin story. After the first season of the Panama-California Exposition, George Marston believed the event had created with success a broad-based historical consciousness for the modern Spanish heritage. “I think that the restoration of the Old Mission in San Diego is one of the most important features of the work [for local improvement], possibly the most important,” he wrote Lummis, adding that “I hope that Mr. McGroarty will be at the meeting – regarding the San Diego enterprise.”58 Through the history and symbol of the California Mission, the state’s difficult cultural and racial history assumed central importance in both the regional imagination and public places. That fact would and will remain this generation’s enduring legacy throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century. It would be a legacy that future generations of San Diegans, revisionist historians and Indian and Chicano/a activists, would eventually change. Through civil rights activism, cultural advocacy, and historical research and writing, Indians and ethnic Mexicans have built upon the foundations of yesterday with much force and more accuracy today.





1. Letter of Luís Jayme, O.F.M., San Diego, October 17, 1772, translated and edited by Maynard Geiger, O.F.M., (Los Angeles: Dawson’s Book Shop, 1970), 31-32. This letter exists in the original at the California Room, San Diego Public Library Research Archives.

2. Geiger, Letter of Luís Jayme, 25-30, 34-38;

3. Geiger, Ibid., 39-41; Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of California, 7 vols., (San Francisco: The History Company Publishers, 1886), 1: 229-231; Fray Francisco Palóu, O.F.M., Historical Memoirs of New California, translated and edited by Herbert Eugene Bolton, 5 vols., (New York: Russell and Russell, 1966), 1:303-304, 3:216-217; Maynard Geiger, The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra, O.F.M., 2 vols., (Washington, DC: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959), 1:332-334, 2:60-61. The description of trouble with Fages is shown in volume one, but not the sexual nature of soldier immorality.

4. Fray Junípero Serra to Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursua, Mexico City, 21 May 1773, in The Writings of Junípero Serra, Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M., ed., 4 vols., (Washington D.C.: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1955), 1:363.

5. On sexual violence in the Spanish colonization of Alta California, see the fascinating articles by Antonia Castañeda, “Sexual Violence in the Politics and Policies of Conquest: Amerindian Women and the Spanish Conquest of Alta California,” in Adela de la Torre and Beatríz M. Pesquera, eds., Building with Our Hands: New Directions in Chicana Studies, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 15-21 and “Engendering the History of Alta California, 1769-1848: Gender, Sexuality, and the Family,” in Ramón Gutiérrez and Richard Orsi, eds., Contested Eden: California Before the Gold Rush, special issue of California History, 76, nos. 2 and 3 (Summer and Fall 1997): 230-238.

6. On the politics of Church and State with regards to the Native Californians, see Michael J. González, “‘The Child of Wilderness Weeps for the Father of Our Country’: The Indian and the Politics of Church and State in Provincial California,” in Gutiérrez and Orsi, eds., Contested Eden, 147-151; Douglas Monroy, Thrown Among Strangers: The Making of Mexican Culture in Frontier California, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 18-44; David Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 242-253.

7. Charles Montgomery, The Spanish Redemption: Heritage, Power, and Loss on New Mexico’s Upper Rio Grande, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), xi-xiv, 1-19; William Deverell, “Privileging the Mission over the Mexican: The Rise of Regional Identity in Southern California,” in David Wrobel and Michael Steiner, eds., Many Wests: Place, Culture, and Regional Identity, (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1997), 235-258; Phoebe Kropp, “‘All Our Yesterdays’: The Spanish Fantasy Past and the Politics of Public Memory in Southern California, 1884-1939,” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, San Diego, 1999), 177-300; More subtle arguments about the modern Spanish heritage are Molly Mullin, “The Patronage of Difference: Making Indian Art ‘Art, Not Ethnology,'” Cultural Anthropology, 7, no. 4, (November 1992) and Culture in the Marketplace: Gender, Art, and Value in the American Southwest, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001), 10-37; Chris Wilson, The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Tradition, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997), 2-11.

8. On the Spanish missionaries and their description of the New World, Northern Mexico, New Mexico, and California, as refuge from the corruptions of European Protestantism, see Andrés Pérez de Ribas, History of the Triumphs of the Holy Faith Amongst the Most Barbarous and Fierce Peoples of the New World, trans. by Daniel Reff, Maureen Ahern, Richard K. Danforth, (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999); Bartolomé de Las Casas, In Defense of the Indians, trans. by Stafford Poole, C.M., (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1992), On the missions in Mexican California, see Rosaura Sánchez, Telling Identities: The Californio testimonios, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995).

9. On the efforts of the Californios to create racial, cultural, and social egalitarian ties with Native Americans in California, see Douglas Monroy, “The Creation and Re-creation of Californio Society,” in Gutiérrez and Orsi, ed., Contested Eden, 173-194; Lisbeth Haas, Conquests and Historical Identities in California, 1769-1936, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 32-44.

10. Accounts of Cabrillo’s voyage are “Relation of the Voyage of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, 1542-1543,” in Herbert Eugene Bolton, trans. and ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542- 1706, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916), 3-39; Richard Pourade, The Explorers, (San Diego: Union-Tribune Publishing Company, 1960), 33-54; Iris H.W. Engstrand, “Seekers of the ‘Northern Mystery’: European Exploration of California and the Pacific,” In Gutiérrez and Orsi, ed., Contested Eden, 83-86; Harry Kelsey, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, (San Marino: Huntington Library, 1986), 143-163; Dora Beale Polk, The Island of California: A History of the Myth, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991), 159-164.

11. The quotation from Cabrillo’s Summary is from Pourade, The Explorers, 182; Kelsey, Cabrillo, 144; Polk, The Island of California, 146-147; Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America, 40-42, 46-49.

12. Quotation from Bancroft, History of California, 1:71, 69-70; Engstrand, “Seekers of the Northern Mystery,” 85.

13. Kelsey, Cabrillo, 161-163; Engstrand, “Seekers of the North Mystery,” 86; Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America, 42; Polk, The Island of California, 164-165.

14. Engstrand, “Seekers of the Northern Mystery,” 91; Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America, 83-84; Bolton, “Introduction: Dairy of Sebastian Vizcaino, 1602-1603,” in Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 43-51.

15. “The Diary of Sebastian Vizcaino,” in Bolton, trans. and ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 80-81; Bancroft, History of California, 1:97-99. Note that footnotes 60 and 61 provide much detailed information about the landing in San Diego.

16. Bolton, Ibid., 80, footnote 1. Palacios’ Derrotero, or ship’s log, is rife with description of San Diego and its environs; Bancroft, Ibid., 1:99.

17. Bolton, Ibid., 81-82; Bancroft, Ibid., 1:99, footnote 61.

18. Palóu, Historical Memoirs, 2:266-270, 3:214; Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America, 242-244; Robert Jackson and Edward Castillo, Indians, Franciscans, and Spanish Colonization: The Impact of the Mission System on California Indians, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995), 74-75.

19. Palóu, Historical Memoirs of New California, 4:66, 61-78; Geiger, Life and Times of Junípero Serra, 2:58-67, 3:160-166: Bancroft, History of California, 1:249-256.

20. Serra to Bucareli, 15 December 1775, in Tibesar, ed., Writing of Junípero Serra, 2:407.

21. Palóu, Memoirs, 4:139-145, Bancroft, History of California, 1:266-273, 299-301; James Sandos, “Junípero Serra’s Canonization and the Historical Record,” American Historical Review 93, no. 5 (December 1988): 1253-1269; Monroy, Thrown Among Strangers, 42-43; González, “‘The Child of the Wilderness Weeps,'” 150.

22. Robert Jackson, Indian Population Decline: The Missions of Northwestern New Spain, 1687- 1840, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994), 172, 37-41, 83-108.

23. “First Book of the Dead, 1769-1804” and “Book of Baptisms, San Diego Mission, 1769-1799, 1800-1822,” 2 vols., Mission Records of San Diego California, Ephemera collection 929.3 San, San Diego History Center Research Archives (SDHC); Bancroft, History of California, 2:107; Richard Carrico, “Sociopolitical Aspects of the 1775 Revolt at Mission San Diego de Alcalá: An Ethnohistorical Approach,” Journal of San Diego History, 43, no. 3 (Summer 1997): 149, 143-157.

24. Jackson, Indians, Franciscans, and Spanish Colonization, 40-59; Geiger, Letter of Luís Jayme, 18-19; See also the baptismal numbers in Palóu, Memoirs, 3:215, 4:61.

25. Letter of Luís Jayme, 32; The idea of Indians “rushing” the mission to overwhelm the friars and repel them is from James Sandos, “Between Crucifix and Lance: Indian-White Relations in California, 1769-1848,” in Contested Eden, 205-210; Florence Shipek, “California Indian Reactions to the Franciscans,” The Americas, 41 (1985): 481-484.

26. Bancroft, History of California, 1:648-649, 2:654-656; Steven Hackel, “Land, Labor, and Production: The Colonial Economy of Spanish and Mexican California,” in Contested Eden, 116- 121; Pourade, Time of the Bells, (San Diego: Union-Tribune Publishing Company, 1961), 117-120.

27. Bancroft, History of California, 2:102, 170, 342-346, 539-552; Hackel, “Land, Labor, and Production,” 121-129; R.W. Brackett, A History of the Ranchos: The Spanish, Mexican, and American Occupation of San Diego County and the Story of the Ownership of the Land Grants therein, (San Diego: Union Title Insurance and Trust Company, 1939).

28. Bancroft, History of California, 2:488, note 13; Monroy, Thrown Among Strangers, 121; Hackel, “Land, Labor, and Production,” 132-134.

29. Monroy, Thrown Among Strangers, 119, 122-125; Durán quoted in Bancroft, History of California, 3:308, 310, note 13, 3:358-359; González, “The Child of the Wilderness Weeps,” 159-166.

30. Bancroft, History of California, 3:304, 301-318; On racial affinity of creoles and Indians in Mexican liberalism, see González, “The Child of the Wilderness Weeps,” 160-163; Charles Hale, Mexican Liberalism in the Age of Mora, 1821-1853, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), 215-247, Colin MacLachlan and Jaime E. Rodriguez, The Forging of the Cosmic Race: A Reinterpretation of Colonial Mexico, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 314-337, and Jacques Lafaye, Quetzalcóatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness, 1531-1813, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), 112-136; Richard Pourade, The Silver Dons, (San Diego: Union-Tribune Publishing Company, 1963), 3-40; Monroy, Thrown Among Strangers, 117-134.

31. Bancroft, History of California, 2:539-552, 3:339-355; Eulalia Pérez, “An Old Woman and Her Recollections,” 11 December 1877, in Vivian C. Fisher, trans. and ed., Three Memoirs of Mexican California, (Berkeley: The Friends of the Bancroft Library, 1988), 80; Monroy, Thrown Among Strangers, 134-154; Lisbeth Haas, Conquests and Historical Identities in California, 1769-1936, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 32-44.

32. Leonard Pitt, The Decline of the Californios: A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californians, 1846-1890, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966), 277-296; Monroy, Thrown Among Strangers, 233-280.

33. Helen Hunt Jackson, A Century of Dishonor: A Sketch of the United States Government’s Dealings with Some of the Indian Tribes, (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1881; reprint 1973), 1, 337.

34. Jackson quoted in The Indian Reform Letters of Helen Hunt Jackson, 1879-1885, Valerie Sherer Mathes, ed., (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999), 210-211, 239-242. The letters, respectively are Jackson to Charles Dudley Warner, 31 October 1882 and Jackson to Hiram Price, 31 October 1882; See also Mathes, Helen Hunt Jackson and Her Indian Reform Legacy, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990), 38-75.

35. Jackson quoted in Mathes, The Indian Reform Letters of Helen Hunt Jackson, Letter to Aldrich, 4 May 1883, 258; Mathes, Helen Hunt Jackson and Her Indian Reform Legacy, 77.

36. Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona, (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1973; originally published 1884); Mathes, Helen Hunt Jackson and Her Indian Reform Legacy, 95-118; See the excellent article by David Hurst Thomas, “Harvesting Ramona’s Garden: Life in California’s Mythical Mission Past,” in Thomas, ed., Columbian Consequences: The Spanish Borderlands in Pan-American Perspective, vol. 3, (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991), 119-153; Some literary reflections on Ramona don’t quite grasp the significance of time and place in both California and Jackson’s novel, typical of ahistorical treatments of the author and her work. See Anne E. Goldman, “‘I Think Our Romance is Spoiled,’ Or Crossing Genres: California History in Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona and María Amparo Ruíz de Burton’s The Squatter and the Don,” in Blake Allmendinger and Valerie Matsumoto, ed., Over The Edge: Remapping the American West, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 65-84.

37. W.A. Richards to Charles Lummis, 5 January 1899, Landmarks Club, Ms. 1, letters folder, un-cataloged collection, Charles Lummis Papers, Braun Research Library, Southwest Museum (herafter cited CLP-SWM).

38. On Lummis’ activity at Warner’s Ranch, see Steven Karr, “Pala: A History of a Southern California Indian Community,” (Ph.D. dissertation, Department of History, Oklahoma State University, 2001), 107-117; On the beginnings of restoration at San Diego mission, see Toni Lynn Nagel-Walston, “Mission San Diego de Alcalá, 1774-1965,” (M.A. Thesis, Department of History, University of San Diego, 1987), 78-84 and Gregory Nelson Chase, “A History of the Architecture and Restoration of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, 1774-1972,” (M.A. Thesis, Department of History, University of San Diego), 47-60.

39. George Wharton James, In and Out of the Old Missions of California: An Historical and Pictorial Account of the Franciscan Missions, (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1907), xv, 53, 301-302.

40. On James’ writings, see Executive Committee Minutes, Panama-California Exposition, 1915-1916, vol. 2, 21 July 1914 (404), un-cataloged collection 17C4, (SDHC); Letter. Lummis to Marston, 1 May 1907 and Letter. Marston to Lummis, 9 May 1907 and 11 May 1907, George Marston Correspondence, 1907-1927, Ms.1.1.2983B, (CLP-SWM).

41. Letter. Charles Lummis to George Marston, 2 January 1907, (CLP-SWM); Letter. Marston to Lummis, 5 October 1907, (CLP-SWM); “Plea is Made for Restoration of Ruins,” San Diego Sun, 14 March 1909, “Missions, San Diego de Alcalá,” Vertical Files, 405.9, no. 3, (SDHC).

42. Letter. Edwin Clough to San Diego Board of Park Commissioners, 26 December 1910, Board Correspondence, 1904-1918, Box 1, folder 18, San Diego Park Commission Collection, California Room, San Diego Public Library (hereafter cited SDPL).

43. Executive Committee Minutes, PCE, 29 March 1911 (28-29), (SDHC).

44. On pageants and their social politics, see David Glassberg, American Historical Pageantry: The Uses of Tradition in the Early Twentieth Century, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990); Susan Davis, Parades and Power: Street Theatre in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986); April Schultz, Ethnicity on Parade: Inventing the Norwegian American Through Celebration, (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994).

45. John McGroarty, “The San Diego Pageant: Exposition Groundbreaking,” West Coast Magazine, 11, no. 1 (October 1911):19.

46. John McGroarty, “History is Repeated: Franciscan Fathers at San Diego,” Los Angeles Times, 20 July 1911,” PCE folders, Amero Collection, (SDHC).

47. John S. McGroarty, “Pageantry of the Ages in San Diego Floats,” Los Angeles Times, 21 July 1911, PCE folders, Amero Collection, (SDHC).

48. McGroarty, “Pageantry of the Ages.”

49. John Steven McGroarty, California: Its History and Romance, (Los Angeles: Grafton Publishing Company, 1911), 276, 279.

50. On the Mission Play, see William Deverell, “Privileging the Mission over the Mexican: The Rise of Regional Identity in Southern California,” 248-258.

51. John S. McGroarty, “Pageantry of the Ages in San Diego Floats,” Los Angeles Times, 21 July 1911, PCE folders, Amero Collection, (SDHC).

52. John S. McGroarty, “Modern Revel in San Diego,” Los Angeles Times, 22 July 1911, PCE folders, Amero Collection, (SDHC).

53. On the dynamics of Californio cultural development in the Mexican period, see Douglas Monroy, Thrown Among Strangers, 134-162 and “The Creation and Re-creation of Californio Society,” in Contested Eden, 182-190; Executive Committee Minutes, PCE, 1915, vol. 1, 21 June 1911 (80), (SDHC).

54. On McGroarty and the origin of the Mission Play and harmonious depictions of the Spanish era, Kevin Starr, Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 87-89; Carey McWilliams, Southern California Country: An Island on the Land, (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1946), 21, 22; Mike Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, (New York: Vintage, 1992), 26-28; Pitt, The Decline of the Californios, 286-290; Earl Pomeroy, In Search of the Golden West: The Tourist in Western America, (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1957), 37-45. A new study by William Deverell should shed important and definitive light upon the organization and meaning of the Mission Play. See Whitewashed Adobe, (Berkeley: University of California Press, forthcoming), 390-399, manuscript in possession of author.

55. Kevin Starr notes that the Mission Play went through three revisions, the first of which cast Americans as the villains. The first smaller staging at San Diego reflects the themes of the first script. See Inventing the Dream, 89; McGroarty, “The San Diego Pageant,” 23.

56. “Great Floats of Mission,” Los Angeles Times, 18 July 1911, PCE folders, Amero Collection, (SDHC).

57. McGroarty, “The San Diego Pageant,” 26.

58. Letter. Marston to Lummis, 23 November 1915, (CLP-SWM).

Matthew Bokovoy received his Ph.D. in American History at Temple University in 1999. He is Postdoctoral Assistant Professor of History at Oklahoma State University. His research interests include nineteenth and twentieth century social and cultural history, with an emphasis in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands; architecture and urban planning; and the cultural history of American Indians, ethnic Mexicans, and Anglos in the Southwest. He has publications and reviews in The Journal of the American Planning Association, The Journal of Religion, H-NET Indian, and The New Mexico Historical Review. He is currently completing a manuscript on the two San Diego Expositions and the modern Spanish Heritage in the Southwest for University of New Mexico Press. He also serves as book review editor of the Journal of San Diego History. Born in Detroit, Michigan, he was raised in San Diego.