Junipero Serra is not “Hispanic ”

Junipero Serra Not Latino

The Catholic Church resorts to desperate  shenanigans in attempt to garner “Latino” support  to defend the canonization of Junipero Serra and save dwindling church membership.

Let’s get this straight. In the sense that the Church and it’s media cohorts are trying to imply, Junipero Serra is not “Hispanic” , nor is Pope Francis the “First Latino Pope”.  In desperation to gain support for their questionable canonization of Junipero Serra, and to rejuvenate dwindling church membership, the Catholic Church via the Los Angeles Archdiocese has launched a campaign to reshape Serra’s image. An image which is tainted by the fact he was usher to the cultural genocide of California’s Indigenous peoples.

The strategy being used by the Catholic Church is to frame Serra and Pope Francis as, what I call, the so-called “Hispanic” and  so-called “Latino”. The Catholic Church is making the inference that opponents of Serra’s canonization are somehow attacking or have racist motives toward (so-called) “Latino/Hispanics”.

Breaking down the Church’s manipulation game..

The terms Latin(o) and Hispanic in their truest sense, refer to people of Latin-European origin. Most popularly, the people of Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France who initated the colonization of the “Americas”. However, after hundreds of years of colonization by Spain, most Mexican, Central and South American Indigenous (Brown) people now identify with their colonizer’s identity. The fact that most Brown people now have Latin surnames and speak Latin languages like Spanish, results in our Indigenous identity becoming obscured, not only to us Spanish speaking Indigenous, but to others as well .The mental colonization is so ingrained that most Brown people identify with any person or subject having Spanish (Latin) language associations.

My good friend Grace Sesma expresses the situation very well..

Catholic Church Just Looking to Replenish Falling Membership

Spanish-speaking indigenous (Brown) people easily make up the majority demographic in the western hemisphere. We are also known for being some of the most faithful and dedicated Catholics. But in a time when Christian numbers are significantly dwindling worldwide, especially that of the Roman Catholic Church, Brown people are no doubt the prized demographic for  predatory non-Indigenous religions seeking to find converts. Brown people are also the demographic the Catholic Church is betting on to emotionally trigger into defensive action for Junipero Serra’s canonization. They are also the ones the Catholic church is trying to win back by marketing the Pope as “one of them.”

Sainthood for Serra Validates Genocide Against Natives

The premise for converting people to Christianity was the alleged inferiority of Indigenous people, our culture, and spirituality. The Papal Bulls of the 15th century gave European explorers and the monarchs they served, the right to claim and exploit any land not inhabited by Christians. This campaign of religious imperialism via Pope Alexander VI’s desire to “subjugate barbarous nations”,  is the foundation in which Junipero Serra set out to build the California missions. By supporting the canonization of Junipero Serra, you are validating the racist colonial mindset which gave environment to the cultural genocide of California’s Indigenous peoples.

Wake up my Natives, Junipero Serra and Pope Francis are just Latin-Roman Europeans in Indigenous lands holding the same colonizing stick, book, and plan. Don’t fall for the colonizer’s tricks. This is 2015, Humanity can’t afford to have it’s values stuck in the 1700’s.

Respect Your Ancestors— Say No to the Canonization of Junipero Serra!

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About the author

5th generation Chicano-P'urhepecha from Venice, CA. Graff artist now mostly creating via digital design mediums and channels. A Native-Indigenous Spiritual Run organizer since 2005, I stay active in building, educating, and defending, Ndgns self-identity, values, sacred sites, and knowledge of self. I also do presentations for high schools, colleges, and community learning spaces.