Thank you, Marcus Lopez, for your succinct Voice, Serra Ain’t No Saint. Since my arrival in Santa Barbara in the early 1980s, I have always been curious about Santa Barbara’s fixation on the Spaniards, from the street names to the architecture, to Old Spanish Days. As Lopez detailed, “The history of California is one of calamity and destruction of the first people of the land, the Indians of California. Colonialism and the exploitations of the land and oppression of the people, continue to mark the indigenous people.”
It is time for Santa Barbara to stop promoting the Spanish invaders, to stop dressing up like Spaniards and be conscious of what is being “celebrated” — the enslavement of the Native Americans, held against their will, exposed to disease, and forced to convert while their lands and properties were stolen. For Santa Barbara to be truly a compassionate community, we must acknowledge the real history, transform Old Spanish Day into Chumash Days, expose the Spanish history for what it was — colonialism, and integrate the indigenous wisdom into every touchpoint of our city. There is so much to learn from the native elders.