What to do with removed mission bells in Santa Cruz
A symbol that "glorifies the killing, dehumanization, forced labor and imprisonment"

2020-10-14T08:25:21-07:00October 14th, 2020|Religious Freedom|

City leaders are backing an effort to provide better context for the historical Santa Cruz Mission and will weigh potential removal of all the city’s mission bells.

The move came Tuesday, more than a year after representatives of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band worked with the UC Santa Cruz administration to ceremonially remove the campus’ mission bell. The bell markers originated in the early 20th century as a tourist attraction celebrating the state’s Spanish colonial past through its Catholic missions. Tribal Band Chairman Valentin Lopez cited concerns, however, that the bells serve as an ongoing racist symbol that glorifies the killing, dehumanization, forced labor and imprisonment of their ancestors, according to a council staff report.

In June, the state-run Santa Cruz Mission was vandalized with red spraypaint by protesters and the mission’s bell, donated in 1998 by the Santa Cruz Woman’s Club from the California State Automobile Association, removed.

“It was kind of a catalyst for a community conversation,” city Parks and Recreation Director Tony Elliot, speaking to the council, said of the vandalism.

Elliot said that, following in the footsteps of past similar efforts, the city gathered a sizeable group with representatives from Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, the nearby Holy Cross Catholic Church of Santa Cruz, State Parks, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History and other stakeholders to come up with a way to include a more accurate depiction of the area’s history. The point, he said, was not to remove one aspect of history and replace it with another, but to include multiple points of view.

“The goal of the group was how to start to convey a more complete and accurate history of the Mission Plaza Park area in particular and specifically by including the indigenous voice and experience,” Elliot said.

The council’s vote sets up the city Historic Preservation Commission to consider a proposal for removal of two remaining mission bells from city streets, including markers at the Mission Plaza site and another at Soquel and Dakota streets, installed in 2006. The commission’s recommendation will come back to the council for final approval. According to a city report, the process for installing the city’s mission bell markers was initiated through the Historic Preservation Committee in 2005/2006, through the acceptance of a grant from the Questors Group.

The above comes from an Oct. 13 story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.


  1. mike m October 14, 2020 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    Someone once said ‘winners write history’. Apparently this is true in the case of the California Missions. In my humble opinion, future presentations must include ‘best available’ infomation from the tribes story of the history.

  2. bohemond October 14, 2020 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    The Stalinist purge continues

  3. Once it starts... October 14, 2020 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Maybe they should be melted down and recast as a hammer and sickle.
    History must be eradicated. And, rewritten/revised according to the Marxist socialist ideology.
    Historical facts do not matter. Truth does not matter.
    Power and control matter.
    That some people, historical and contemporary, are destroyed in the process, oh, well, it’s a small price to pay for a utopia controlled by others.
    As François de Charette said prior to the French Revolution: “ne saurait faire d’omelette sans casser des œufs.” (“You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.”)
    Just remember, as some liberal Democrat politicians have recently discovered, the revolution eats its own. (As Jacques Mallet du Pan noted in 1793, the revolution devours its children, “A l’exemple de Saturne, la révolution dévore ses enfants.”)”

    • Anne TE October 15, 2020 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      Yes, after the French revolutionists, or regicides, massacred the Vendee and beheaded some Carmelite nuns and priests and killed the king and queen, they went after each other and even put a prostitute on the altar of Notre Dame, Paris. I think Robespierre who helped start the revolution was one of the next ones to be beheaded, and finally a woman with some sanity stabbed Marat to stop him from murdering others, then they killed here. They painted Marat dead in his bathtub, where he was killed, laid out like the Pieta as if he were Jesus Christ, which he definitely was not.

      One reason I do not celebrate Bastille Day, even though I do not going around vandalizing stores that do.

  4. Kevin T October 14, 2020 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Does the city realize its name means “Holy Cross”? When will they change it to something less offensive, like “Coast City”?

  5. James October 14, 2020 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    With what will Santa Cruz be replacing the mission bell? Probably a hammer and sickle!

  6. Anonymous October 15, 2020 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Bells are a work of art and music. They should be as respected as stained glass windows and pipe organs. Please find a respectable place for them. There are a lot of places that would love to have one.

    • Dave October 15, 2020 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      From your post to God’s ears.

  7. SouthCoast October 15, 2020 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    most of today’s Leftist SJWs wouldn’t have a clue as to now to use either a hammer or a sickle. Spend hours looking for the power switch.

  8. Greg the Geologist October 15, 2020 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Though in the shape of Mission bells, these are really just markers for El Camino Real, and you can find them from Loreto in Baja California Sur to Sonoma. Most date from the early 20th Century, placed at intervals as part of a movement to memorialize the historic route. Good book about them – “El Camino Real and its Historic Bells” – available from the publisher, Sunbelt Publications in El Cajon. Not surprisingly, El Camino Real mostly followed native trading routes. So, these geniuses are doing away with landmarks that help document their own history.

  9. Anon. October 15, 2020 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    History has many violent conflicts, and unfair situations! Shall descendants of white American settlers take revenge on Indians of long ago, who raided and burned their settlements, and raped, killed and scalped their loved ones– and brutally tortured and killed their missionary priests?? The past is over and done with– you cannot change it! Best to simply make peace with the past— and forget about it, and move forward!

    • Anon. October 15, 2020 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Of course– it was totally unfair, to begin with– for Europeans to come and settle the New World, conquering the Indians, dominating their cultures, and robbing them of their lands. But that happened long ago! It is always unfair, when that happens to a group of people, in History! Shall the Indians of today, go and complain to the English, French, and Spanish monarchies about this– as well as to the American government?? All you can do– is deal with today! It is important for historical artifacts to be carefully preserved– all of it, right or wrong, good or bad. Future generations must be taught History factually, objectively, and learn all they can from it.

      • Anne TE October 16, 2020 at 9:25 pm - Reply

        Sometimes they bought it, but that did not always work out too well either. As Louie de Amour once wrote about a true situation, one tribe of Indians once sold another tribe’s land to a group of white settlers and got them into trouble with the tribe who owned it.

  10. anonymous October 15, 2020 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    There was abuse of the Natives by the Spaniards, which the missionaries fought against, in defense of the Natives. And, later, Americans mistreated the Natives. Yet, as Stanford’s Victor Davis Hansen noted, as California recently passed legislation considering reparations for slavery, “Are we to establish a precedent that those who never owned slaves in a society that has no memory of slavery are to redistribute billions of their dollars to those whose grandparents were never slaves?”
    None of my ancestors were in this country during the mission period or when slavery was legal.

  11. Hymie October 17, 2020 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    As James Carville might say: Drag a federal gaming license through a California pow-wow and you’re sure to find Chief Valentin Lopez. His ‘tribe’, the Amah Mutsun, are not federally recognized.

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