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Father David Oliveire



ARIMA BORN


REVEALING THE HISTORY OF ARIMA AND ITS


MISSION THROUGH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S
BAPTISMAL REGISTERS, 1820–1916
THE COLONIAL CONTEXT

 capital extraction overseas


 local intermediaries: landed oligarchy
 creating poverty out of plenty
FOUR MYTHS
 The Myth of the “Indian Mission”
 The Myth of Christian “Protection”
 The Myth of Assimilation
 The Myth of Extinction

LAND, LABOUR, POWER



THE MYTH OF THE
“INDIAN MISSION”
 A slave colony
 African majority already in place
 Don Manuel Sorzano
 Martin Sorzano
“Juana, slave of Don Manuel Sorzano” (1792)
Simon, born out of wedlock to Gregoria (no
surname), “a slave of the Habitación [estate]
called La Horqueta”. A “Negro” person was the
godparent. 1833.
 “in 1786, Padre Reyes Bravo was
appointed Corregidor or Protector of
the Indians” (Williams, 1988)
 Sister Marie Thérèse Rétout described
Fr. Bravo as being “in charge” of the
mission settlement (1976, p. 46)
 a mere six Spanish settlers who were
“placed in the village” in order to
provide a “good example” to the
Amerindians (Boomert, 2016, p. 144)
 priests “prohibited ‘mission’ Indians
from contact with ‘bush’ Indians, Negro
slaves, mestizos or other Spaniards and
kept them confined to the missions” (Fr.
Harricharan, 1983, p. 22)
 “the partial preservation of the
Indigenous race as agricultural
workers under the external guise of
living a Catholic life” (Noel, 1972, p. 18)
 “to segregate the Indians, for their own
good, from the newcomers” (Fr. Leahy,
1980, p. 102)

THE MYTH OF
CHRISTIAN “PROTECTION”
 In the interests of Indigenous Peoples?
 Colonial propaganda: self-interest
masked as humanitarianism
 Commerce & Counterinsurgency
 Incorporation, Pacification, Exploitation
 Debt Dependency
“a part of this land has been alienated
through the passage of time and the vices
of the Indians”

(Father Louis Daudier, O.P., Letter to the


Monsignor, April 27, 1881)

THE MYTH OF ASSIMILATION
 Obedience & Service
 Austerity & Devotion

 Alcoholism & Domestic Abuse


 Amerindian Resistance
(from: Keenan, 1869, p. 37)
MARRIAGE STATISTICS FOR AMERINDIAN PARENTS
BAPTISING CHILDREN IN ARIMA, 1820-1852
YEAR NATURAL LEGITIMATE
1820 7 (39%) 11
1821 6 (46%) 7
1822 9 (60%) 6
1823 6 (67%) 3
1824 5 (62%) 3
1825 9 (50%) 9
1826 5 (56%) 4
1827 8 (72%) 3
1828 4 (44%) 5
1829 8 (62%) 5
1830 6 (43%) 8
1831 4 (44%) 5
1832 7 (64%) 4
1833 5 (50%) 5
1834 5 (45%) 6
1835 7 (54%) 6
1835 1 (100%) 0
1836 3 (60%) 2
1837 7 (44%) 9
1838 4 (50%) 4
1839 7 (58%) 5
1840 4 (57%) 3
TOTAL 127 (53%) 113
Note: “Natural” children were those born to unmarried parents; “legitimate” children were those whose parents were formally
married. Numbers shown are absolute numbers, followed by the percentage in parentheses.
Sources: Baptismal Registers of the Mission of Santa Rosa, Arima: Book 1 (1820–1835), Book 2 (1835–1840)

THE MYTH OF EXTINCTION
 A Fabricated Vanishing
Amerindians counted when valued
 Decline in Amerindian Value
Not Needed  Not Counted

Recording practices:
Dropped ethnicity
Switched ethnicity
Updated ethnicity
The person who was baptised, as shown in the
entry above, was 15-years-old at the time
(1837). She was given the name of “Cecilia,” and
the priest noted that she was a “native of Africa”
(natural de Africa), and an “apprentice”.
“Indian of this Mission,” 1833.
“Indian of the Mainland” (de la costa firme),
1830
 Miscegenation
Pushed Out + Wanted Out

“To what, then, do you ascribe the gradual and


rapid diminution in their number?”:

“Chiefly to the gradual mixture of the races. As


pure Indians they were compelled to remain at
the mission, and conform to the regulations;
but the children born of Spanish and Creole
fathers could not be so classed, and would not
submit to the restraint of remaining there”.
(Burnley, 1842, p. 109)
Governor Woodford to Captain William
Wright:

“You will then proceed to make a return


of them by families, shewing their
lineage or descent as well as their
trades, and if intermixed with other
than Indian blood” (quoted in Fraser,
1971[1896], p. 104).
PROBLEMS WITH THE RECORDS

NEED FOR MORE RESEARCH

GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
https://www.alertpress.org/arima-born.html