By Deborah Miranda
In other words, the Mission Unit is all too often a lesson in mindless competition, imperialism, racism, and Manifest Destiny than actually educational or a jumping off point for critical thinking or accurate history.
Can you imagine teaching about slavery in the U.S. South while simultaneously requiring each child to lovingly construct a plantation model, complete with happy darkies in the fields, white masters, overseers with whips, and human auctions? Or ask fourth graders to study the Holocaust by carefully designing detailed concentration camps, complete with gas chambers, heroic Nazi guards, crematoriums?
Secondly, you might notice a complete lack of reference to two crucial Mission actors: Priests, and Soldiers. On whose authority were these Missions ordered constructed? And hey–who constructed them, anyway? And why would Indians give up their freedom to become, essentially, slaves?
Who decided this was a good idea? How, exactly, was it carried out? In other words: let’s talk about VIOLENCE and RACISM.
For more on the subject, see Serra Almost a Saint and Fun Facts About Missions.
Below: An alternative to the California flag that acknowledges the role of Indians.