Denver Newsroom, Sep 30, 2021 / 09:33 am
St. Junipero Serra’s heroism did not change when California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to ensure that his statue will no longer stand on the state capitol grounds, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco has said.
“This new law does not change the facts: Junípero Serra spent his life caring for and defending the indigenous people of California to the point of heroic virtue. Indian and Spaniard alike mourned when he died,” Cordileone said on Twitter Sept 29. “We would do well to imitate his virtues. We ignore history to our peril.”
Gov. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 338 Sept. 24. It replaced a law requiring a statue of St. Junipero Serra at the state capitol with one requiring a statue to honor local indigenous populations. The bill text claims that Serra and his missions were responsible for a host of atrocities against native peoples, which drew strong objections from Catholics who said it was inaccurate and misrepresented Serra.
Newsom signed other bills. One replaced Columbus Day with Native American Day as a judicial holiday, while another protected Native Americans who wanted to wear “items of cultural significance” at high school graduations.