My own post about this from 2015.
“Within the missions is a terrible truth — that they were little more than concentration camps where California’s Indians were beaten, whipped, maimed, burned, tortured and virtually exterminated by the friars.
The California Indians did have a culture, but they never got a chance to contribute it to California. The Spanish crown decreed in the 1760s that the Indians were to be rounded up, baptized into Christianity and their culture destroyed. It was the same policy that Spain had followed in eradicating the complex and advanced cultures of the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs in Latin America.
In 1769, that near-genocidal policy was launched, under the direction of Father Junipero Serra, with the founding of California’s first mission. One scholar, Robert Archibald, has written that the missions were akin to the “forced movement of black people from Africa to the American South.” With the help of Spain’s soldiers, the Indians were herded to the sites of the missions. Once there, they became slaves, directed by the friars to build the missions. Once within the mission boundaries, they were forever forbidden to leave. No less an authority than the U.S. National Park Service has documented and described the hellish and tragic fate of the California Indians, especially the coastal tribes. They were not warring tribes, but instead gentle harvesters who lived in equilibrium with their land and seashore.
Their terrible fate at the hands of the Spanish and friars was described by Jean François de Galaup de la Perouse, a French explorer and sea voyager hired by the French government to report on the western coastal areas of North America. In 1786 he visited Mission San Carlos Borromeo in the Monterey area and described the severe punishments inflicted on the Indians. The friars, he determined, considered the Indians “too much a child, too much a slave, too little a man.” California historians Walton Bean and James J. Rawls, described La Perouse as likening the missions to the slave plantations of Santo Domingo.”https://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/The-dark-terrible-secret-of-California-s-missions-2685666.php
I also liked this quote from the Reddit thread
I’ve been to a few missions. My kids did projects on Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo. I’ve read the little plaques they put outside, sounds so innocence: the Indians lived here. This is where they farmed. This is little church. Here’s the gift shop. A big write up about the owners and the Fathers. Nothing about the torture, it mentions they were forced… not they were tortured into working for them and their culture being denied them in place of Catholicism. They should tear down all the statues. Every one of those spots should provide some insight into Native American cultureu/ClaudiaTale