[These placards can be found at the Studio City Metro station in Los Angeles.]
Native Americans had lived in California for over 10,000 years when Gaspar de Portola arrived in 1769. With the Portola Expedition came Father Junipero Serra who established the mission system. Although occasional tribal warfare occurred during food shortages, the Gabrielino Indians were a gentle people, especially in the handling of their children. The Padres complained that they “treated their children like idols” because the children lacked discipline.
This permissive attitude contrasted sharply with the discipline imposed by the Padres in running the missions. For example, once an Indian decided to join a mission, he was not permitted to leave. If he left and failed to return he could be hunted down, beaten, or even killed. Furthermore, Indians were denied specific privileges, such as riding horses or using Eurpean weapons.
The church acted as guardian, holding mission property until the day Indians would be self-governing. Settlers from Mexico saw it in their own best interest to dismantle the mission system so they could appropriate the hotly contested lands. There were many Indians whom the Padres still wanted to baptize when the Mexian settlers moved in. The Padres protested that the townspeople were taking advantage of these Natives. At times, they would labor for an entire week and only be paid a lace handkerchief or a bottle of alcohol. Women could be taken advantage of, then abandoned. Men who did this were at times publicly punished.
Indians were not considered “gente de razon” (people capable of reason). They were viewed as children. Though the Padres were charged with training them in skilled labor and educating them in preparation for self-government, they were seldom taught to read.
California, which had the largest Native American population in what is now the U.S., became a place where many tribes disappeared. European diseases such as smallpox spread through the living quarters of the overcrowded missions. Indians were no longer permitted to practice their religious and ceremonial bathing. This spawned further disease. Under such unhygienic conditions, infant mortality rose. The final blow to the Inidans came in 1849 when gold was discovered in California. What remained of the Indian culture was nearly destroyed by the arrival of thousands of lawless gold-seekers known as “forty-niners”.
During the Mexian American War from 1846-48, the population of California numbered approximately 7,000 Mexicans; 15,000 mission Indians and non-baptized Inidans conversant with the Mexican culture; and 1,000 foreigners who were a mixture of other Latin Americans, European and U.S. immigrants. Of those who claimed Spanish descent, half intermarried with Mestizo, Indian, or people of African descent. Only one in three percent were actually from Spain.
Many residents defined themselves as “Californios”. This was not meant to deny their Mexican heritage, but to assert their love for their most beloved California. Pio Pico, Governor of California, and Andres Pico, Commander of the Californio forces, were brothers and Mexicans of African descent.
In California more than in the rest of Mexico a person’s station in life was not strictly determined by race, but by his or her cultural assimilation and attainment of education. An Indian who wore the trappings of a well-educated person could assume a higher social status. Many Californios spoke the local Gabrielino language because they were accustomed to negotiating with the Indians.
Forty-four persons from northwestern Mexico founded the City of Los Angeles in 1781. More than half were of African descent. This era has been referred to as California’s Spanish Period because Spain ruled Mexico during this time and that rule extended to California. However, California was settled by Mexicans, not Spaniards.
As part of my ongoing efforts to continue creating compelling content while also making money and plans for the future, each week I will be uploading not three written pieces to americanifesto and liesmith but one. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Wednesdays are for americanifesto, Thursdays for liesmith, Fridays for urbanartopia. Fresh whorphans will accompany each new piece. Thank you for visiting over the years and please keep coming back. In memoriam Leif Ericson and Zoe Spears. Best wishes, jP
[americanifesto - 場黑麥 - jpr - urbanartopia - whorphan]
One of the reasons that video games are popular is that the parameters for success within them are clearly established. In the game Clash of Clans, for example, as long as one player destroys a certain amount of his opponent’s defensive towers and property he is rewarded with trophies, stars, and in-game resources on top of what was gained through raiding. He know that he must wipe out at least fifty percent of the other’s things or kill the opposing town hall in order to be a success. He feels good after a win, and bad after a loss.
In the world outside of video games, however, the parameters of success (and the celebrations and positive feelings that should accompany doing something well) are often lacking. For freelance workers who lack a direct command structure, the success of accomplishing tasks and meeting deadlines is rarely celebrated, acknowledged, or even recognized - even though progress was made. The correct emails are sent on time, but only infrequently do clients issues words of encouragement and praise. The job of the client, after all, is to receive things and pay for them, not soothe egos or boost morale; it’s up to the worker to stay motivated and light of heart.
As kids, our parents (hopefully) praised us when we got something right and helped us to regroup when we didn’t. As adults, however, and especially as orphaned adult freelancers, we bear the twin burdens of establishing the parameters of our own success as well as instituting rituals to regularly acknowledge and properly praise ourselves when we stay on target and get things done. Given our trying economic realities and the supreme value of time, this author recommends that such rituals be kept cheap, short, and simple. A minute or two of quiet reflection during which one imagines putting the completed project in a box and giving it to the recipient, to the sounds of cacophonous fanfare and much rejoicing, is better by far than wading once more into the breach, without pause.
By copying the video-game model of clearly established success, it’s possible for life as a freelancer to be both rewarding and bearable.
americanifesto / 場黑麥 / jpr / urbanartopia / whorphan
In an effort to increase productivity and spend my time left on this mortal coil wisely, I’ve been experimenting with making certain things difficult. Not good things, of course, such as ritual, spirituality, creative expression, or spending time with people whose company I enjoy; the things I’m trying to make difficult are detrimental and wasteful activities such as watching internet videos, eating when I’m not hungry, and spending more money than necessary on transportation.
To avoid getting lost down a YouTube rabbit hole, I tether my laptop to the internet via my mobile phone instead of using house WiFi. Due to the limited amount of mobile data my plan provides, watching internet videos is out of the question. When zoning out to the latest trending vidz threatens to eat into my allotment of wireless gigabytes, staying on task and hammering out the paragraphs becomes the path of less resistance.
To avoid stuffing my face between meals, I buy most of my food dry, raw, or in bulk, which means I have to prepare something before it’s ready for consumption. With the exception of the odd carrot or apple, this has allowed me to drastically cut down on spells of random munching, given that I can’t just eat one cookie after the other while standing in front of the kitchen cupboard but have to bake a batch first, from a box.
To avoid wasting time driving around out of laziness or spending money unnecessarily on a gym membership, I bicycle or walk nearly everywhere I go. Bicycling and walking, as well as a daily hatha yoga practice, sets of burpies, and regular disc-golf outings, fulfil most of my upper and lower body workout demands without monetary expenditure. (Plus, these activities contribute little to my overall carbon footprint, which I estimate to be roughly 9 tons of CO2 a year.) Since getting access to a car or a gym is difficult, I resort to the options at my ready and immediate disposal.
By making that which I want to do easy, and that which I want to avoid doing hard, I find myself living a more productive and active life than I ever did watching TV or driving around in a slave’s chariot.
americanifesto / 場黑麥 / jpr / urbanartopia / whorphan
blog updated Fridays, usually
I bicycle, write, surf, and strive.