That they loved the dear old asistencia was manifested by Americans, Mexicans, and Indians alike, for when the Landmarks Club visited it in December, 1901, and asked for assistance to put it in order, help was immediately volunteered to the extent of $217, if the work were paid for at the rate of $1.75 per day.
With a desire to promote the good feeling aimed at in recent dealings with the evicted Indians of Warner’s Ranch, now located at Pala, the bishop of the diocese sent them a priest. He, however, was of an alien race, and unfamiliar with either the history of the chapel, its memories, or the feelings of the Indians; and to their intense indignation, they found that without consulting them, or his own superiors, he had destroyed nearly all the interior decorations by covering them with a coating of whitewash.
The building now is in fairly good condition and the Indians have a pastor who holds regular services for them. In the main they express themselves as highly contented with their present condition, and on a visit paid them in April, 1913, I found them happy and prosperous.
THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE MISSION INDIANS
The disastrous effect of the order of secularization upon the Indians, as well as the Missions themselves, has been referred to in a special chapter. Here I wish to give, in brief, a clearer idea of the present condition of the Indians than was there possible. In the years 1833-1837 secularization actually was accomplished. The knowledge that it was coming had already done much injury. The Pious Fund, which then amounted to upwards of a half-million dollars, was confiscated by the Mexican government. The officials said it was merely “borrowed.” This practically left the Indians to their own resources. A certain amount of land and stock were to be given to each head of a family, and tools were to be provided. Owing to the long distance between California and the City of Mexico, there was much confusion as to how the changes should be brought about. There have been many charges made, alleging that the padres wilfully allowed the Mission property to go to ruin, when they were deprived of its control. This ruin would better be attributed to the general demoralization of the times than to any definite policy. For it must be remembered that the political conditions of Mexico at that time were most unsettled. None knew what a day or an hour might bring forth. All was confusion, uncertainty, irresponsibility. And in the melee Mission property and Mission Indians suffered.
What was to become of the Indians? Imagine the father of a family—that had no mother—suddenly snatched away, and all the property, garden, granary, mill, storehouse, orchards, cattle, placed in other hands. What would the children do?