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Westmont Panel to Examine Junipero Serra’s Legacy

A statue depicting Junipero Serra

Several notable scholars will explore the history and legacy of Junipero Serra, the primary founder of the California missions, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 in Hieronymus Lounge at Westmont’s Kerrwood Hall.

The panel discussion, “New Thoughts on ​Junipero Serra and His Legacy for California,” is free and open to the public.

The life and work of Serra, who was recently canonized by Pope Francis in a service in Washington, D.C., has been the subject of considerable attention recently.  

Panelists will explore many dimensions of his career, including his vision, his interaction with Native American communities and his changing reputation over the years.

The event features James Sandos, Farquhar professor of the American Southwest at the University of Redlands; Ruben Mendoza, professor of archaeology at CSU Monterey Bay; Kristina Foss, curator of the museum at Santa Barbara Mission and Native American Studies instructor at Santa Barbara City College; John R. Johnson, professor of anthropology at UC Santa Barbara; and Gregory Orfalea, who teaches at Westmont and wrote the Serra biography Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra’s Dream and the Founding of California.

Sandos has written several books, including Converting California: Indians and Franciscans in the MissionsRebellion in the Borderlands: Anarchism and the Plan of San Diego, 1904-1923 and The Hunt for Willie Boy: Indian-Hating and Popular Culture.

Mendoza has authored Contested Visions: Fray Junípero Serra, Native Californians, and the Legacy of the Franciscan MissionsThe Ethics of Anthropology and Amerindian Research: Reporting on Environmental Degradation and Warfare and has contributed to The California Missions Source Book.

Johnson, curator of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, is an expert on the Chumash Indians of the Central Coast and edited the book Treasures from Native California: The Legacy of Russian Exploration.

Scott Craig is the manager of media relations for Westmont College.

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