An Easter Sunday showdown at the Carmel Mission is expected between Native Americans and the faithful over the canonization of Father Junipero Serra.
Anger among tribes has been growing since January, when Pope Francis announced Serra, who is buried at the mission, would be made a saint. Native Americans and their supporters plan a 1 p.m. gathering near unmarked burial sites adjacent to the mission for a “ceremony for our ancestors” — just as believers begin Mass on the holiest day in the Christian calendar.
“For too long the mission system has been glorified as these wonderful moments of California’s golden era,” organizer Corine Fairbanks of the American Indian Movement Southern California said. “That is not true. They were concentration camps. They were places of death.”
Organizers expect “not anything less than” 100 Native Americans to join them, although the high number of tribes signed on to attend seem to indicate more. Fairbanks said Native Americans from as far away as San Diego and the Yosemite National Park area are expected to attend.
Diocese of Monterey spokeswoman Erika Yanez said they were not concerned and anticipated the action to be peaceful. A message left with the Carmel Police Department was not returned.