It seems that Junípero Serra will finally be having his day in court. Felony charges were filed in Marin County on November 12, 2020 against the #IndigenousPeoples5, accused of the destruction of a statue of Saint Junípero Serra at Mission San Rafael Arcángel on October 12, 2020.

A preliminary hearing was held in Marin County on August 17, 2022 (People v. Aguilar, SC214700A). The next scheduled date is today, February 22, 2023, Ash Wednesday, at 9am.

Defendants include Ines Shiam Gardilcic, Victoria Eva Montanopena, Melissa Aguilar, Marjorie Nadeska Delgadillo, Moira Cribben Van de Walker.

Sacheen Littlefeather, Apache, who declined Marlon Brando’s 1973 Oscar on his behalf, said of the five arrested for destruction of a statue of Saint Junípero Serra at Mission San Rafael Arcángel, “The legitimate federally recognized Native American Indian people of Marin County did not participate in, and knew nothing of the actions, nor did we sanction the destruction of the statue of Junipero Serra…. As a member of the Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Circle, I would like to make it clear that we do not condone such behavior and we pray for all of those involved.” Littlefeather died at her Marin County home on October 2, 2022 at age 75.

According to Richard Rodriguez, author of Hunger of Memory, Saint Junípero Serra is worth defending. He sees himself as “. . . made by the missions” and goes on to write in his January 2018 First Things article “Padre Mestizo”, “We are called to his [Saint Junípero Serra’s] grave because of the strength of his resolve — a resolve he shared with thousands of missionaries. His great ambition, his deep desire, was to join his soul to the souls of Indians, many of whom fled his presence.”
– The above was submitted by Christian Clifford. Clifford writes on the subject of Catholic Church history in Spanish and Mexican California. His latest book is the Catholic Media Association Book Award recipient Pilgrimage: In Search of the REAL California Missions, the story of his 800-mile walk of the California Missions Trail. He can be reached at