Page:The Indian Dispossessed.pdf/222

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THE MISSION INDIANS

"This class of Indians seems forcibly to illustrate the truth that no man has a place or a fair chance to exist under the Government of the United States who has not a part in it." Hon. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1874.

SOME half-dozen years before the birth of American Independence the Franciscan monks founded, under the protection of the Spanish Government, the first of the famous Indian Missions in what is now Southern California. These worldly-wise missionaries gradually extended their establishments northward, and in the memorable year 1776 they attained their northernmost point in the building of the Dolores Mission near the present city of San Francisco.

The sites of these old missions indicate clearly that while the Franciscans may have had first in mind the spiritual welfare of the native peoples, they were also adepts in the art of husbandry and in the selection of locations for the practice of it. Their system of Indian control points as well to a division of their thought between the welfare of their child-like charges and their own material prosperity. It is certain that under the direction of the Fathers many thousands of the Indians became Christians, learned

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