Native Sons

I am writing to voice my concern over Indigenous People’s Day in Santa Barbara and California as a whole. I have concerns of the precedent the change from Columbus Day could set for future issues relating to Santa Barbara’s and California’s rich history and to all peoples who have come before us.

I grew up in Santa Barbara minus the many years I spent overseas protecting our beautiful country. I am a 13th generation Californiano (Santa Barbarian) with a bit of Chumash as well. My forefathers were Spanish soldiers who came with Father Junipero Serra on the Gaspar de Portolá y Rovira Expedition of 1769. The expedition built Missions and Presidios from San Diego to San Francisco to keep the territory from being claimed by foreign powers, namely England and Russia.

If the City of Santa Barbara adopts this new day, what might come next? Changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day could end up being a slippery slope that gets rid of things, such as those related to my family's accomplishments, here in Santa Barbara and in California as a whole. I hope this isn’t political correctness gone awry.

In some instances, Christianity was forced on the Native population. Some call it manifest destiny while others call it a wrong. I’m torn between the two.

I’m not sure if you have spoken to Los Decendientes,” Families of the Santa Barbara Presidio, or any other descendent groups to see what their stance is on the change of the day or the bigger issue of what might happen in the future to our families' legacies if this day is passed.

My forefathers — Carrillo, Cordero, and Ortega to name a few — were Spanish soldiers who married indigenous people and settled up and down the coast. I am proud of my forefathers' accomplishments and proud to say I have Chumash blood running in my veins.

It’s my belief that my Spanish forefathers were trying to do good for their country (Spain) at that time they started their travels from Baja California to Alta California. Just as I felt I was doing good when I was overseas for my country. I hope you see the similarities in both of those paths!

My hope is that you take a look at all sides of this issue before you write the next article about this topic.