California’s Christening – A Historical Essay by Sergi Turiella Gómez

Image by Sergi Turiella Gómez

It is an honor to share with you all this essay written by my husband. Sergi and I hope it helps clarify certain issues that have remained veiled too long.

View original post here:

http://sturiella.blogspot.com/2019/08/californias-christening.html

© 2019 Sergi Turiella Gómez and Marta Pombo Sallés

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “California’s Christening – A Historical Essay by Sergi Turiella Gómez

    1. Yes, Mark. There are always certain people interested in hidding the truth for their personal benefits and power. They are ready to do anything even if that includes abusing others.

      Like

  1. I appreciate your husband’s candor but there are those in the United States that are well aware of the diversity that is “Spanish”. As you know, I am very diverse and have some roots in the Catalan people. Each and every country in Central and South America have Spanish speaking people but the language varies from country to country. It is a shame that so many people world wide tend to put some people in a ‘box’…so to speak…and make them all the same in their way of thinking. It is good that your husband wrote his essay and hopefully, it will bring to many the awareness they lack. One of my brothers is buried in San Francisco and my grandfather attended and graduated from the University there. I even worked there for a short time. A beautiful city with so much historical background and of course, I was born in Southern California. I thank you for posting this essay and understand the need for it. I do hope you are well. Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment. I know you are well aware of diversity. Actually, as you say, my husband has written his essay to shed light among those who are not aware of such issues. I am glad you understand the need for this essay. Thank you again. Hope you too are well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marta, I tried to comment on the original post but somehow could not do so from my cell phone. I lost whatever comment I wrote there.
    To summarize, I believe that history is always written by the victors and the blood and tears of the vanquished are thrown in the dustbin of the past. Many a times oral history of people forgotten get embellished by later generations and people and events get legendary status, whether deserved or not.
    Similarly retelling of history of the conquest of the new world is often done by relegating the suffering of the indigenous people. Some of the names mentioned in Sergi’s essay were complicit in inhumane treatment of native Americans. Some in that list even have been elevated to sainthood by the church acknowledging their service to the spread of Christianity while ignoring completely the aspect of their inhumane treatment to “children of a lesser god”. Pride in our nationalism should not gloss over those facts in trying to rewrite history.
    I know my comment may not be well received but I think I have the right to speak freely.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Pranab. Your comment makes perfect sense. Sergi and I thank you for that. Those Catalans that conquered California and other parts of the world in earlier times since the Middle Ages, did as many atrocious things to the indigenous people as the Spaniards that have been unjustly glorified and sanctified. Juníper Serra and Gaspar de Portolà were obviously no saints. Forcing the indigenous people to convert to Catholicism and all the consequences that followed are totally unacceptable. This has a name: human genocide. Perhaps Sergi should have explained all that. However, his point was that Spanish oligarchies have always wanted to silence that part of history because they defeated the Catalans in 1714. Therefore, our people had been massacred before and nowadays we still suffer from that inheritance. The Spanish state is becoming more authoritarian day by day even though it wears a democracy make-up. And this increasing lack of democracy is affecting not just the Catalans but the rest of the peoples living in Spain. And yes, world history should be completely rewritten from the perspective of the abused.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for understanding Marta. I am always thankful that Columbus did not find the real India. Not that the British or for that matter many Indian kings and prince’s were any better.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. You are welcome, Shiva. I am very interested in what you think and feel. My husband usually gets very little attention and I think he knows a great deal about our country’s, that is, Catalonia’s history. He talks about those issues that have deliberately been silenced and are still being silenced by the successive Spanish governments and oligarchies. However, notice that Catalan conquerors were as brutal as the Spaniards with the American indigenous peoples. They forced them to convert to Catholicism and practiced human genocide. Nonetheless, a little earlier than California’s conquest, Catalans had also been defeated and massacred by the Spaniards in 1714. Nowadays Spain is becoming an increasingly authoritarian state wearing a mask of democracy. Civil rights and freedom of expression are at stake. This is not just affecting us, Catalans, but the rest of the peoples living in Spain. We need to fight for these rights nonviolently such as Gandhi and many others did. Also, the Catalan people as well as any other people on earth have the legitimate right to self-determination where many of us would like a nonviolent separation from the Spanish state and have our own state within the European Union.

      Like

    1. Thank you for reading and posting this great comment, Kat. I like that you say you “enjoyed reading all the historical facts”. Indeed, they are facts certain powers have deliberately wanted to silence and still want to do so. And yes, Mark Gasol plays amazingly. The two brothers are great and they both come from Sant Boi de Llobregat, the town where I live and which is very close to Barcelona.

      Like

  3. I’m sorry, Marta, but the argument is simplistic. Americans are grossly stereotyped in this piece, especially those who live on one or the other coast or in Texas and New Mexico. So many are aware of our diverse heritage because – among other things – it is their PERSONAL ethnic heritage and history. The San Francisco Bay Area is the Ph.D. capital of the world, in other words a relatively well-educated population. Those missionaries and colonizers who were complicit in the abuse and genocide of indigenous peoples are not held in high regard. If you visit the California Missions, one thing you will note is that the missionaries and other colonizers are buried with respect, with tombstones on which their names are inscribed, while the indigenous peoples are buried in mass graves, not even a plaque in sight. Junípero Serra y Ferrer and Gaspar de Portolá y Rovira did not hold the moral high-ground. Their names are on many streets and schools and towns as a leftover form older perspectives that are no longer held. Our Native American population is the third largest of any in the United States. Yes! Linguistically the emphasis is on Spanish. There are less than 2,000 people in the entire Untied States that speak Catalan according to our last census. Over 54% of the population in California is Latino, by which we mean from or descended from peoples of Central and South American and the Caribbean. Having said that we are aware of the background mix from the Catalonian provinces and the Iberian Peninsula. Latinos account for most of our nation’s growth. The Imperial Valley on the U.S. Mexican border is 70% Hispanic. Because of this there is a major emphasis in school on Spanish, even in New York where I grew up because we have a large Puerto Rican population and many from other Spanish-speaking countries including the Dominican Republic. There are over forty native Californian tribes here, which are federally recognized or seeking federal recognition. “Ohlone” actually is a category under which there are some forty distinct groups. Their languages are part of the Utian language family. Yes! You see a lot in the news about racism and civil rights and abuses born of ignorance. That’s because these travesties are being fought and fought loudly by the majority who may not be in power now but who are aware and compassionate and informed. There have been many victories, the result of this acute awareness of history and human rights.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think my husband made his argument at the expense of you all, citizens of the United States of America, though perhaps I could agree with the word “simplistic”, Jamie. He should have elaborated more on his main argument. Those Catalan speaking “heroes” that conquered California and other parts of the world in earlier times since the Middle Ages, did as many atrocious things to any indigenous peoples they encountered as all the Spaniards that have been unjustly glorified and sanctified. Juníper Serra and Gaspar de Portolà were obviously no saints. Forcing native Americans to convert to Catholicism and the consequences that followed are totally unacceptable. This has a name: human genocide. Perhaps Sergi should have explained those things better, which I guess he assumes as already known and obvious for the readers of his essay. However, his main point here is that the successive Spanish oligarchies have always wanted to silence that part of history because they themselves defeated the people from Catalonia, that is, the Catalans, in 1714. Therefore, the Catalans had also been massacred before by the Spanish, just like the native American tribes. Nowadays we still suffer from that inheritance. As you know, the Spanish state is becoming more authoritarian day by day even though it wears a democracy make-up. And this increasing lack of democracy is affecting not just the Catalans but the rest of the peoples living in Spain. This, in turn, also affects the European Union and, consequently, the world as globalised as it is now. As one of this blog followers, Pranab, said, World history should be completely rewritten from the perspective of the abused.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I do agree with your assessment of the injustice of the situation imposed by Spain and,I might say, sympathize with your perspective. FYI: Your poem for Wednesday Writing Prompt speaks to an important issue that is of world wide concern. However, it’s not on theme. Given that though, I wonder if you would be amenable to having it published in the September issue of “The BeZine,” scheduled for publication on September 15. The theme is Social Justice. Let me know at bardogroup@gmail.com. Thanks! And thanks for your responses here and for coming out for Wednesday Writing Prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are welcome, Jamie. Thank you again, for your kind and thoughtful comment. I am currently out of town and with poor online connection. Will contact you soon about the poem.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s