Back to All Events

Nothing to Celebrate: Reconsidering the Legacy of Portolá

  • Stevenson Event Center, University of California, Santa Cruz (map)

Please join us for an important discussion around the reconsideration of the legacy of the Spanish explorer Portola on Wednesday October 16th at the University of California, Santa Cruz Stevenson Event Center. This is a free public event, with special invitations to both UC Santa Cruz and affiliates.

A bit of the history and importance of this event: 

In 1769, Spanish soldier and explorer Gaspar de Portolá became the first known European to conduct an overland expedition into what would become California. On October 16 of that year, Portolá passed through Santa Cruz.

While events around the Bay Area will be held in October and November to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first European sighting of the San Francisco Bay, many indigenous people in California consider this an occasion to mourn and reflect, not to celebrate.

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and American Indian Resource Center of UC Santa Cruz invite the public to this conference to reflect on the destructive legacies of European colonization, to consider how these legacies continue to this day, and to dig deeper into the stories of early California. Together, we will consider what it can look like to confront difficult truths and to heal.

Conference presentations will include:

  • Steven Newcomb: The Papal Bulls and Doctrine of Discovery

  • Dr. Martin Rizzo: Portola’s Encounters with the Guachirron and Quiroste: the Real Story of Indigenous Generosity & Spanish Duplicity

  • Valentin Lopez: The Portola Expedition and California Mission System

  • Dr. Alyce de Carteret: The Spanish Conquest of Native Mesoamerica: From Mexico-Tenochtitlan to Noj Peten

  • Dr. Donna Schindler: Tears of Our Ancestors: Healing from Historical Trauma

  • Deanna Rose Von Bargen, Toni Nash, Molly Arthur: Catholic nuns discuss the challenges of confronting legacies of harm inflicted upon indigenous peoples by the Catholic Church