Social control, political accomodation, and indian rebellion

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Hist 366, History of California, Rosenthal

Discussion Questions for Steven W. Hackel, “Social Control, Political Accommodation, and Indian Rebellion,” (ERes, , password - “California”).[1]

1) What is Hackel’s main argument (thesis) in this chapter (hint: pay special attention to the introductory paragraphs)?
• Indirect rule not only allowed Spaniards toreshape Indian lives, but it also provided Indians with the means and the personnel to retain control over certain aspects of their communities, in some areas long after the collapse of colonial rule.

2) Prior to Spain’s colonization of Alta California (the modern-day state of California), how did Spain impose social order upon its New World colonies and indigenous peoples? Why and how did thisbegin slightly differently in Alta California?
• Officials imposed social order upon its New World colonies and the indigenous peoples by using the Castilian cabildo (town council) as a model for the political organization of Indian communities as well as for their own. But Indians would be relegated to a separate republic or cabildo that segregated and discriminated them. Knowncollectively as the Republic of Indians, these councils were regulated by laws, which prescribed the frequency of elections and the number of officials. Selected by Indian electors, most cabildos (councils) consisted of a governor, several regidores and alcaldes, and various lesser officials, such as scribes, all in numbers proportional to the population of the settlement. Generally, preconquestdynastic rulers often gained appointment as Indian governors. Indians officials, however, were under the paternalistic control of the Spanish authorities in what came to be known as indirect rule.
• Creating indirect rule began slightly differently in Alta California because the Franciscans bitterly opposed the elections. Their resistance did not emerge from objections to indirect rule, butfrom a power struggle between secular and religious authorities that deepened during the late eighteenth century. Church and state officials held opposing views about the origin of civil authority and each claimed ultimate jurisdiction over Indians. The Franciscans argue they should have absolute control over the missions and the Indians who lived in them. They believed that natives so recentlysubjugated to the church and the Crown cannot possibly be ready for a measure of institutionalized self- governance, no matter how elementary its form. Franciscans feared that Indian officials would use their elevated political status to pursue their own goals. The Franciscans didn’t want the Indians to learn that the Spanish governor, not the Franciscans, had ultimate civil and judicialauthority.
2) What were the duties of Indian alcaldes (elected officials) in Alta California? Why would some Indians become alcaldes? How did Indian alcaldes attempt to mediate between the demands of the Franciscans and the needs of their communities?
• One of the main duties of Indian alcaldes was to speak and write in the Indians’ language for the Franciscans. That is, the alcaldes had toserve as interprets and translators. For instance, the alcaldes gathered at the house of the missionary, then they brought the news of that day from the village, and if the missionary told them something that all the people of the country ought to know, they returned to the village and communicated it to the rest of the Indians. Their very presence helped to connect Catholic rituals to the Indiansof the mission. They had to ensure all individuals attended Mass and remained sober. The Indian officials were among the few Indians to participate in the administration of the sacraments of baptism and marriage as godparents and witnesses. Alcaldes were to keep unmarried men and women in the single-sex dormitories and prevent them from having illicit contact.
• In the one hand, the...
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