The Academy of American Franciscan History has released a new video documentary on Junipero Serra, Introducing Junipero Serra: The Newest Saint.
One of the important points that comes across in this documentary is the fact that Father Serra saw missions — where previously nomadic groups lived in settled communities — not as a way to exploit indigenous labor, but as one of the best ways to protect indigenous peoples against colonial exploitation. Serra’s idea grew out of his previous experience in the Sierra Gorda region of south central Mexico (or New Spain as it was called at the time) and he vowed to apply it in Alta California.
Written and executive produced by Robert Senkewicz — coauthor of the outstanding new Serra biography, this half hour documentary presents a broad view of Junipero Serra and the mission system, including interviews with descendants of the native people who built the missions, historians, archaeologists and other experts on Serra and the missions he helped establish.
I hope you’ll take the time to watch “Introducing Junipero Serra: The Newest Saint” and tell me what you think.