The following comes from an August Amah Matsun article by Cathy Castillo:
A proposal by the California Mission Foundation to have the state’s famed El Camino Real route declared a UNESCO Heritage Site is being bitterly opposed by state Indians who said it would only “honor and glorify the brutal conquest” of Indian lands.
“Our tribe and many other California Tribes impacted by the California Mission system oppose this effort,” said Valentine Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of Costanoan/Ohlone Indians. El Camino Real originally linked California’s 21 Franciscan missions, that were a day’s horseback ride apart.
He was joined in his opposition by Antonio Gonzales, the regional representative for the American Indian Movement, who stressed that in too many cases the foundation has undermined the credibility of ownership of the “original peoples of those lands and trails.” The foundation also supported sainthood for Serra without considering the brutality that he imposed on California Indians.
Also joining the protest was Elias Castillo, author of A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions. “Unless the truth is clearly explained,” Lopez stressed, “El Camino Real should not become a World Heritage Site. Too many Indians died from the inhumanity of Serra and the Franciscans.”