.Letters to the Editor—Historical Veracity

Matt Metzler’s letter (“Historical Accuracy,” Letters to the Editor, Dec. 22) about naive exhibits at Mission Sonoma State Park, like much recent scholarship, attempts to blame genocide upon the Spanish Viceroyalty and Mexican, Catholic missions.     

However the cultural violence of Christianity affected the Native Californians, a firm study of the well-researched life of Chief Marin shows the missions as both a refuge from settler violence and an education in adapting to new technologies such as steel, firearms, the written language and horses. Spanish-era documents show a self-criticism of their failings, and renewed legal rights—such as voting and owning property—for the Indians. Chief Marin was an elected alcalde in both Mission Dolores and Mission San Rafael Arcangel.

All of these rights were removed by the new State of California, in 18 of the 24 paragraphs of the 1850 State of the State address to the California legislature by our first governor. These paragraphs deal solely with the need to make a war of complete annihilation against the Native Californians.

Therefore, we have to look at the actual intentional attempted genocide, by American settlers of the Golden State, with government bounties, and not fall into the trope of  “Black Legend” anti-Catholic scapegoating.

Neil Hammari

Marin City

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Last week’s Bohemian/Pacific Sun news article (“Mouse Management,” Dec. 22) incorrectly stated that the approved plan includes dropping 2,880 pounds of poison on the Farallon Islands. That figure should have referred to the weight of the poison-laced pellets, not pure poison.

In addition, last week’s feature story (“Countdown to the Countdown,” Dec. 22) about New Year’s Eve events failed to emphasize that all in-person gatherings will follow Covid-related safety and health protocols, including requiring proof of vaccination or negative Covid tests, and requiring face coverings indoors.

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