A symbol linked to the early history of California’s Spanish missions was removed from a California college campus on Friday after officials said it was viewed as a “racist symbol.”
The El Camino Real Bell was removed from the University of California Santa Cruz, Fox News reported. The bell was put on the campus in the 1990s and was a copy of the original bells, first put along California highways in 1906 as a reminder of California’s past, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“The bell marker, which memorializes the California Missions and an imagined route of travel that once connected them, is viewed by the Amah Mutsun and many other California indigenous people as a racist symbol that glorifies the domination and dehumanization of their ancestors,” the college said in a release.
Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services Sarah Latham said removing the bell was “in support of efforts to be more inclusive.”
Not everyone supported the sentiment.
UC Santa Cruz Will Remove ‘Offensive’ Bells from Campus | Breitbart. This idea is offensive to Americans who run this land for 250 years. Indigenous people got defeated. To the victor goes the spoils. Any other country who defeated an enemy honor them? No https://t.co/kV5OHDSjOr
— Catberger (@SMaulberger) June 21, 2019
Weaponized intersectionality in the hands of the historically ignorant and the emotionally fragile leads to the redefinition of the past, present and future:https://t.co/0FUkCXtWTJ
When will adults stand up and tell the children to get over it?
— James White (@DrOakley1689) June 22, 2019
Valentin Lopez, chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, said the bells are a “painful” reminder that “celebrate the destruction, domination and erasure of our people.”
“It is shameful that these places where our ancestors were enslaved, whipped, raped, tortured and exposed to fatal diseases have been whitewashed and converted into tourist attractions,” Lopez said.
Lopez said the bells had nothing to do with faith.
“‘We conquered you, we controlled you, we destroyed you.’ That’s what those symbols mean to us,” Lopez said, according to the Los Angeles Times.The Amah Mutsun are descendants of Native Americans who settled in the Santa Cruz area.
The college’s action came several days after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order apologizing to Native Americans for the state’s history of “violence, maltreatment and neglect” against them. The order says that California “historically sanctioned over a century of depredations and prejudicial policies against California Native Americans.”
“California must reckon with our dark history,” Newsom said Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We can never undo the wrongs inflicted on the peoples who have lived on this land that we now call California since time immemorial, but we can work together to build bridges, tell the truth about our past and begin to heal deep wounds.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom apologized to California #NativeAmericans in an executive order for the state’s “dark history” of violence against #Indigenous people.
“It’s called a genocide…I’m sorry on behalf of the state of California.” pic.twitter.com/amsLDAN2TW
— Native Americans In History (@HistoryNative) June 19, 2019
Newsom said the early history of Catholic missions could be summed up in one word.
“It’s called a genocide. That’s what it was. A genocide,” he said, adding that there was “no other way to describe it, and that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books.”
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