Mission La Purisima Concepcion

Lompoc, California.  We dedicated the day to Mission La Purisima Concepcion.  This mission stands out in several ways.  First, it is a State Historic Park and is run by park rangers.  Second, it is probably the most restored of all the mission sites.  Third, the grounds are not make up of manicured lawns and gardens, but are maintained with a more rustic, dusty appearance giving the mission a more “real life” feel.  We find that this mission tour, being maintained by the State Park system, presents a little different perspective on mission life than the church-maintained properties.  Here there is more talk about how the joint effort of Spain and the Church brought significant change to the Chumash people that had detrimental effects. The missions brought: 1) environmental changes that affected the food-gathering of the native people, 2) soldiers who were to protect the missions but often abused the native people, and 3) European diseases for which the native people had no resistance and no proper medicines.  All of this caused a significant reduction in the native population during the mission era.  In an introductory video, a Chumash gentleman said (this is not a direct quote, but a paraphrase), “With the coming of the missions there were many things that happened that were wrong, but we must learn from these things and make society better from what we learned.”  Wise words.  We can’t undo the past, but we can use the lessons to be better people.

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