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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Chumash Revolt of 1824: A Native Account

  • Author(s): Blackburn, Thomas
  • et al.

Although the mission system established by the Spanish in California has been a topic of considerable interest to both scholars and students alike for many years, and a great deal of information is available on certain specific aspects of mission life, it remains regrettably true that no phase of native history of comparable significance is more poorly represented in terms of primary documentation. With a few notable exceptions (such as a Boscana, Arroyo de la Cuesta, or Longinos Martinez), the participants and observers of the tragic events of the mission period seem to have seen little of intrinsic value or interest in native culture per se, or indeed in the people themselves as human beings, rather than simply converts or laborers. Consequently, the kinds of data available for anthropological or historic analysis are limited, sparse, systematically biased, and usually fail to provide the type of in-depth perspective that can sometimes be extracted from such sources. The publication of a native account of an important historic incident during the mission period—the Chumash revolt of 1824—should therefore be of particular interest to many, since it does supply a rare glimpse of native responses and attitudes toward the system which exploited them economically and destroyed them culturally.

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