Telling and Teaching the Truth of the California Missions:
UC Critical Mission Studies Conference on Northern California Missions

Friday August 27, 2021
at the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

Videos Available Now!: Critical Mission Studies Youtube Channel 

Sponsored by University of California Critical Mission Studies Project, Amah Mutsun Tribal BandOhlone/Costanoan-Esselen Nation, UCSC American Indian Resource Center, and the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park.


Truth-telling, Truth-seeking: Uncovering Painful Histories of the California Missions

Black and white photo of Mission ripped in halfFriday, August 27 from 1 to 5:30 pm

View conversations with California Indian researchers, leaders, and allied scholars.


1:00pm Uncovering Difficult Histories at Santa Cruz Mission

View Video

(Welcome and Land Acknowledgment)

Valentin Lopez, Tribal Chair, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
Dr. Martin Rizzo-Martinez, State Historian for Santa Cruz County, author of We are not Animals


2:00-3:30pm Telling the Truth of the California Missions

View Video

Moderator: Merri Lopez- Keifer, Senior Advisor to the Tribal Council San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians

“Impact of Missions on Language, Culture, Land Claims, and Spirituality,” Dr. Stanley Rodriguez (Kumeyaay) Director and President Kumeyaay Community College and Councilman of the Santa Ysabel Kumeyaay Nation.

“Sounds, Silences, and Vestiges of California Mission Bells,” Dr. Bernard Gordillo, Postdoctoral Associate of the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University.

“Centering Ohlone Presence at Mission Santa Clara and Santa Clara University." Dr. Lee Panich, author of “After Saint Serra: Unearthing Indigenous Histories at the California Missions” and Gloria E. Gomez, Muwékma Tribal Councilwoman (past).

“Revitalizing Reciprocal Relations with Land: Amah Mutsun Pathways to Reconnection,” Alexii Sigona (Amah Mutsun) and Annie Taylor Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley.


3:45-5:30 pm Teaching the Truth of the California Missions: Transforming Classrooms, Museums, and State Parks

View Video

(Panel and Roundtable)

“Centering Stories: Teaching about California Missions from an Indigenous Perspective” Dr. Renya K. Ramirez (UCSC Anthropology, Ho-Chunk/Ojibwe); Dr. Daisy Martin, UCSC Director of History and Civics Project, Education Department; Charley Brooks, PhD Candidate UCSC Education, Graduate Student Researcher, The History and Civics Project, Dr. Judith Scott (UCSC Education Dept, Cherokee)

“California Missions in the California Indian History Curriculum,” Gregg Castro (t’rowt’raahl Salinan/Rumsien & Ramaytush Ohlone), Culture Director of the Rumaytush Ohlone, Advisor, California Indian History Curriculum Coalition

“Decolonizing California Mission Museums and Monuments”, Dr. Amy Lonetree (Ho-Chunk), author of Decolonizing Museums, Associate Professor, Department of History, UCSC

Teaching and Telling Roundtable and Q&A with conference panelists


IYA Play PosterIYA: The Ex'celen Remember: A Staged Reading about Native Esselen Memories of the California Spanish Missions
Friday, August 27 from 6 to 8 pm
Playwrights Q&A afterwards

View Video

When a family reunites by chance to remember a loved one they rediscover who they are to themselves, to each other, and to their ancestors. Inspired by Louise J. Miranda Ramirez, Tribal Chairwoman for the Ohlone/Costanoan-Esselen Nation (OCEN) and written and arranged by Luis xago Juárez of Baktun12, this excerpt of IYA: The Ex’celen Remember features a flashback to the mid-1990s when these family members revisit a memory of their “Auntie Umu” and their own version of the 4th grade mission history project she helped them present as children to a school assembly, drawing immediate and unintended consequences.