Lying to Children About the California Missions and the Indians

As student contests are currently being held for California mission models, we revisit this article by Deborah A. Miranda about the brutal treatment of Native Americans during the Spanish colonization of California, and demands an end to what she calls the Mission Fantasy Fairy Tale. She writes, “Intense pressure is put upon students (and their parents) to create a ‘Mission Project’ that glorifies the era and glosses over both Spanish and Mexican exploitation of Indians, as well as enslavement of those same Indians during U.S. rule. In other words, the Mission Unit is all too often a lesson in imperialism, racism, and Manifest Destiny rather than actually educational or a jumping-off point for critical thinking or accurate history.”