On Saturday, Oct. 24, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians will welcome Tribal Citizens at 2 p.m. at Mission San Fernando (Brand Park). The Tribal Citizens are in the midst of their 650-mile pilgrimage across California to each of the 21 Missions.
The “Walk For The Ancestors,” led by Tataviam descendants Caroline Ward Holland and Kagen Holland, began on Sept. 7, at Mission Solano in Sonoma, California. It is set to conclude sometime in late October at Mission San Diego.
This walk symbolizes opposition to the sainthood of Junipero Serra by Pope Francis.
Participants of the walk are following the footsteps of their ancestors, who were removed from their villages and forced to walk to their designated Mission.
“We want our ancestors to know that we understand their suffering,” Ward Holland said. “To me, the disease brought here [by the Franciscans] was secondary in comparison to the ways they tortured our people, mentally and physically. The stories of the atrocities are passed down.”
According to Rudy Ortega Jr., tribal president of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, “Serra came to this land where the indigenous people had their religion and traditions and forcefully imposed his religion of Catholicism and European lifestyle. Many lives were lost by the sheer disease bought by Spanish change of lifestyle, and by the brute nature of converting native peoples’ religion.”
The stop to the San Fernando Mission will be overseen by members of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, who are sending representatives, Ortega said.
The tribe has recently been involved City officials regarding a proclamation to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. Ortega has also asked at the local Mission to provide information where the tribe’s ancestors are buried on the grounds.
More information can be found on the website walkfortheancestors.org.
The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians is a sovereign California American Indian Tribe of Northern Los Angeles County. They were originally recognized in 1892, when a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney recommended that the federal government take action for Fernandeño land rights under the Mission Indian Relief Act of 1891. The Tribe has recently submitted their petition to re-establish their status as a federally recognized tribe.