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ERIC Number: ED563216
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 322
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-0720-5
Reconstructing the Past: Historical Interpretations and Native Experiences at Contemporary California Missions
Lorimer, Michelle Marie
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Riverside
Spanish missions that dot the landscape in California today exist as centers of historical interpretation. Visitors to California, residents of the state, and school children often turn to these sites to learn about the early history of the region. Unbeknownst to many visitors, the history presented at many contemporary California mission sites reflects an incomplete, skewed, and biased perspective of the past created in the early-twentieth century by local promoters such as Charles Fletcher Lummis and John Steven McGroarty. This "revisionist" history focused on a romantic and idyllic representation of the mission era--centered on the benevolent work of Spanish priests and celebration of mission ruins. Revisionists pushed Native Californians into the periphery of this manufactured narrative, despite the central role of indigenous people in building, populating, sustaining, and expanding the missions. Following in this tradition, contemporary mission museums continue to present an unhistorical version of the past. Interpreters at these sites frequently ignore such themes as Native labor, Indian resistance, contagious diseases, malnutrition, infant mortality, violence, death, and Spanish-inflicted punishments. They glorify the Spanish priests, deemphasize the role of Native people, and minimize the negative impact of Spanish colonization on California Indian populations. Scholars writing in the late twentieth century provide more accurate and detailed analyses of early California history and the Spanish mission system. However, popular representations of mission history do not reflect scholarly knowledge offered during the past fifty years about the role of Native Californians within the mission system. Interpreters at mission sites today continue to situate colonial California within idyllic depictions consistent with the mission myth. While some contemporary sites attempt to present more balanced and honest representations of the past, sanitized and romanticized narratives remain the most prominent presentation of Spanish missions in California found in popular culture today. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California