Gregory Whitney | Cancel Spanish Oppression!

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Amid all the national talk about deleting oppressors’ names from places and things, Californios are carefully averting their eyes from the elephant in the room: Spanish oppression of native populations in Alta California.

Spanish oppression enjoyed a union of church and state that resulted in well-documented genocide of native populations. Herded into missions by the tip of the lance and forced to toil for the padres, the natives lost their freedom of religion and culture and then their very lives.

Rebellions were crushed.

Every major city in California stinks of Spanish occupation and oppression: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento. 

And many lesser towns: Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Jose, Santa Clara, Pasadena, Palo Alto, Santa Paula, Santa Clara, Santa Clarita, San Luis Obispo.

Following rules of the current cultural revolution sweeping the country, all Spanish place names will have to be replaced with native designations.

Olvera Street and El Camino Real will be gone.

But the general population will object, saying this occurred in the distant past, we cannot give up our cultural heritage, we are not responsible for the sins of previous generations. You cannot destroy our history for the sake of recently imposed standards of behavior.

Descendants of native populations will demand reparations from California taxpayers for land seized and lives lost. Missions will have to be leveled.

If Mississippi can part with the Confederate flag, California can part with Spanish names.

This is not unprecedented. In the Midwest, entire states have native place names. Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Mississippi. And cities: Chicago, Milwaukee, Chippewa Falls, Sioux City, Omaha, Oshkosh. And small towns: Winnebago, Pecatonica, Muskego, Menomonie, Pontiac.

Replacement could be phased in gradually. For example, references to Santa Clarita could include both the old name and its replacement: Santa Clarita — Tatavia. Then, old signage would be replaced with the native name.

Sacramento would be a good place to start. Who wants to organize the protest? 

Gregory Whitney


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