For Immediate Release: 3/22/2022

California State Parks Seeks Public Input to Help Appropriately Shape the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Sonoma Mission

Contact:
SonomaMission200@parks.ca.gov

SONOMA, Calif.— California State Parks is announcing public engagement opportunities as part of an effort to acknowledge the 200th anniversary of the founding of Mission San Francisco Solano (Sonoma Mission), a unit of Sonoma State Historic Park. As the department begins planning the commemoration of the mission bicentennial, the voices and perspectives of California Tribal Nations and community members are crucial in identifying appropriate, meaningful, and impactful ways to reflect on the consequences of the mission’s founding.

Located on the ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok, the Sonoma Mission turns 200 on July 4, 2023. Working with the Sonoma State University Anthropological Studies Center over the next year and a half, the Sonoma Mission 200 Project will gather community input, develop a commemoration plan and provide event management. Launched this month, the three-phased project begins with formal Tribal government consultations; community engagement with staff, volunteers, and stakeholders; and an online public meeting. The second phase includes plan implementation and commemoration activities. The final phase will yield a written update to the Sonoma State Historic Park interpretation and education programming.

There are many ways for the public to provide input and help shape the commemoration. The Sonoma Mission 200 project website -- parks.ca.gov/SonomaMission200 -- has an invitation to participate in an online facilitated public meeting being held this Saturday, March 26 at 10 a.m., a survey link or project updates. Information on future public engagement opportunities will be available on the following social media accounts -- Instagram @sonomamission200, Twitter @sonomamission and Facebook @sonomashp.

Historical Background

The Sonoma Mission was established on July 4,1823. Located in Sonoma’s city center, it is the cornerstone of Sonoma State Historic Park and one of few mission-related sites that are protected and operated as a California state park. As the last of California’s 21 missions, it was the only one to be founded after Mexico’s independence from Spain.

The California missions are sites of great pain and loss. At Sonoma Mission, members of the Coast Miwok, Pomo, Wappo, Wintun and tribes from as far away as the Central Valley experienced coercive religious and labor practices. This exploitation has enduring repercussions for California Native Americans.

The Sonoma Mission 200 project is part of a larger effort within State Parks’ Reexamining Our Past Initiative. Among its goals, the initiative seeks to address interpretive programs and exhibits in California’s State Park System that fall short of fully contextualizing the state’s history. The initiative was started in 2020 when State Parks joined with other California State Agencies to redress discriminatory names within the state park and transportation systems. This followed the national conversation about racist public memorials in 2019, as well as Governor Newsom’s formal apology to Native Americans and the creation of the California Truth and Healing Council that same year.

View of the Sonoma Mission
View of the Sonoma Mission. Photo from California State Parks.




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