If you were once a fourth-grader in California, you probably remember learning about the state’s trail of 21 historic missions. Maybe you even made a model of one of them with Popsicle sticks or papier-mache — or maybe that’s something you’d prefer to forget.
Created between 1769 and 1823, the missions are central to California’s story. But until now, the ways in which their history has been interpreted and taught have largely discounted the perspectives of the Native American and Chicano/a communities who built them.
Beginning this month, a group of University of California scholars that includes Jennifer Scheper Hughes, a UC Riverside associate professor of history, seeks to broaden the narrative to more accurately reflect both the history of the missions and the diverse communities that have been at the center of the state’s development.