Mission Indian

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Proper noun[edit]

Mission Indian ‎(plural Mission Indians)

  1. A Native American who lived in one of the Catholic Missions in Southern California.
    • 1904. Constance Goddard Du Bois. Mythology of the Mission Indians, The Journal of the American Folk-Lore Society, Vol. XVII, No. LXVI. p. 185-8.[1]
      Mythology of the Mission Indians...the mythology of the Luiseño and Diegueño Indians of Southern California.
    • 1906. Alfred L. Kroeber, Two Myths of the Mission Indians, Journal of the American Folk-Lore Society, Vol. XIX, No. LXXV pp. 309-21.[2]
      What are to-day known as the Mission Indians are those Shoshonean and Yuman peoples who occupy the portion of southern California which lies between the principal mountain ranges and the sea.
  2. A Native American who lived in any one of the Catholic Missions of Alta California.
    • 2007. Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Website, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe: A Brief History... [3]
      Prior to the American conquest of California 1846-1848, some of the secularized Mission Indian families obtained formal Mexican land grants.

Usage notes[edit]

The term seemed limited by early 20th century historical publications to Native Americans who lived at the Southern California missions (i.e. the Shoshonean, Yuman, Luiseño and Diegueño). Today the term has extended to include natives from any Catholic Mission throughout Alta California, including the 7 Northern Missions.