Mission Indians

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Mission Indians is a term for many Native California tribes, primarily living in coastal plains, adjacent inland valleys and mountains, and on the Channel Islands in central and southern California, United States.

The tribes had comparatively peaceful and established cultures varying from 250 to 8,000 years before Spanish contact. These resident indigenous peoples of the Americas were relocated from their traditional dwellings, villages, and homelands to live and work at twenty one Spanish missions in California, and the Asisténcias and Estáncias as they were established between 1796 and 1823 in the Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.


Spanish explorers arrived on California's coasts as early as the mid-16th century. In 1769 the first Spanish Franciscan mission was built in San Diego. Local tribes were relocated and conscripted into forced labor on the mission, stretching from San Diego to San Francisco. Disease, starvation, over work, and torture decimated these tribes. Many were forcibly converted and baptized as Roman Catholics by the Franciscan missionaries at the missions.

Mission Indians were from many Californian Native American tribes that were relocated together in new mixed groups and renamed after the responsible mission. For instance the Payomkowishum were renamed "Luiseño" after the Mission San Luis Rey and the Acjachemem were renamed the "Juaneños" after the......
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