Skip to main content

Table 5 Limitations to the exchange of information on medicinal plants

From: Exchange of medicinal plant information in California missions

1. A significant power imbalance existed between the priests and the Native Americans
Comments Source
The power of the priests was maintained by the presence of soldiers at the missions (p. 22) (example of imbalance of power between priests and Native Americans) Webb [61]
Priests used corporal punishment to enforce their power (p. 113) (example of imbalance of power between priests and Native Americans) Castillo [59]
Native Americans avoided a sharing of their knowledge of medicinal plants and healing practices by conducting healing activities at night out of sight of priests from fear of losing power to the priests (47-51; 71-80, 97-100, 119-120) (example of imbalance of power between priests and Native Americans) Geiger and Meighan [23]
2. Priests thought the Native Americans were savage heathens or children and their pagan ways should be suppressed
Comments Source
Boscana’s view of the character of the Native American (pp. 52) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Spanish attitude toward Native Americans (pp. 64) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Fray Lausen’s poor view of Native Americans (pp. 93-94) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Friars harangued Native Americans about their “savage” way of life (pp. 119) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Castillo [59]
Boscana referred to shamans as “diabolical imposters” (pp. 236) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Shamans practiced quackery (pp. 237-238) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Engelhardt [64]
Fr. Boscana’s views of Native Americans (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge) Hanke [72]
Fundamental duty of missionaries is to eradicate what is harmful in Native American customs (pp. 128-129) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge) Kryder-Reid [66]
Spanish hold native culture in contempt (p. 30) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge) Langsdorff [73]
Priest force Native Americans to alter their traditional practices (pp. 59) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Shamans considered sorcerers and wizards by priests (pp. 109) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Controlling and acculturating Native Americans (pp. 110) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Lightfoot [21]
Missionaries sought to make Native Americans ashamed of their traditional ways of life (pp. 223)
Native rituals and beliefs identified as work of the Devil (pp. 225)
Milliken [74]
Priest have contempt for Native American’s abilities (p. 52) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge) Rawls [75]
Priests prohibit Native American from dancing at San Gabriel Mission (pp. 5) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Fr. Boscana compares Native Americans to monkeys (pp. 21) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
“denaturalizing” of Native Americans (pp. 92) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Shaman practiced sucking of objects from bodies of the afflicted (pp. 118) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Tribal lore kept secret by Shaman (pp. 181-182) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Sandos [76]
Native Americans viewed as deceivers (pp. 481) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge) Shipek [77]
Native Americans viewed as devil worshipers (pp. 68) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge) Skowronek [78]
Challenge to indigenous medicinal practice (pp. 17) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge) Wilken-Robertson [32]
3. Language barriers to communication
Original languages spoken by some neophytes usurped by other languages spoken by neophytes from different tribes (pp.51) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Native American languages unworthy of study or preservation (pp. 51) (example of disrespect on the part of priests for Native American knowledge)
Widespread lack of Spanish among neophytes (pp. 128a) (example of barrier to sharing of information due to different languages)
No record that teachers were sent or that the friars established to teach Native Americans Spanish (pp. 128b) (example of barrier to sharing of information due to different languages)
Policy of not teaching Native Americans to read or write Spanish (pp. 128-129) (example of barrier to sharing of information due to different languages)
Missionaries did not learn native languages (pp. 140) (example of barrier to sharing of information due to different languages)
Castillo [59]
Perseverance and hard work required of the missionaries to learn Native American languages (pp. 177) (example of barrier to sharing of information due to different languages) Guerrero [60]
Missionaries should make greater effort to learn Native American languages (pp. 39) (example of failure of priests to learn native languages) Rawl (1984)
Language barriers (pp. 26 and 45) (example of barrier to sharing of information due to different languages)
Variety of crude and barbarian languages among the Native Americans (pp. 46) (example of barrier to sharing of information due to different languages)
Native Americans born in the Missions learned Spanish (pp. 47) (example of greater opportunity of second generation neophytes to exchange information on medicinal plants)
Interpreters employed to neophytes since most padres did not learn the native languages (pp. 48a) (example of barrier to sharing of information due to different languages)
Only those Native Americans born in the Mission all speak Castilian (pp. 48b) (example of greater opportunity of second generation neophytes to exchange information on medicinal plants)
After 1840 Native Americans reported to speak Spanish (pp. 308) (example of greater opportunity of second generation neophytes to exchange information on medicinal plants)
Webb [61]
Great variety of Native American languages and dialects (pp. 15) (example of greater opportunity of second generation neophytes to exchange information on medicinal plants)
Majority of the friars taught neophytes in Spanish, rather than in their native languages (pp. 124) (example of greater opportunity of second generation neophytes to exchange information on medicinal plants)
Weber [69]
4. Reduction in the availability of medicinal herbs due to the elimination of Native American burning and the introduction of Spanish livestock.
Subsistence practices constrained at Missions (pp. 79) (example of Native American customs, including medicinal practices constrained at the Missions) Lightfoot [21]
Plant management practices by Native Americans that would have been curtailed around the Missions (pp. 83) (example of Native American customs, including medicinal practices constrained at the Missions)
Native American spiritual practices connected to plant harvesting curtailed by Missionaries (pp. 84) (example of Native American customs, including medicinal practices constrained at the Missions)
Lightfoot and Parrish [30]
Cessation of native fire management practices (pp. 27-28) (example of land management practices used by Native American to promote medicinal plants constrained at the Missions)
Change of lifestyle resulted in a loss of interest in traditional commodities (pp. 222) (example of Native American customs, including medicinal practices constrained at the Missions)
Milliken [74]
Use of fire by Native Americans (pp. 12) (example of land management practices used by Native American to promote medicinal plants constrained at the Missions) Timbrook [18]
Spanish soldiers destroy Native American field by grazing (pp. 48-49) (example of land management practices used by Native American to promote medicinal plants constrained at the Missions)
Native American burning to produce more seeds (pp. 81) (example of Native American land management practices used to promote medicinal plants)
Native American burning (pp. 117) (example of Native American land management practices used to promote medicinal plants)
Crespi’s observation of Native American burning (pp. 121-122) (example of Native American land management practices used to promote medicinal plants)
Evidence of Native American burning (pp. 124) (example of Native American land management practices used to promote medicinal plants)
Governor Arrillaga bans Native American burning in 1793 (pp. 126-127a) (example of land management practices used by Native American to promote medicinal plants constrained at the Missions)
Moncada’s 1774-1777 observations of Native American burning (pp. 126-127b) (example of Native American land management practices used to promote medicinal plants)
Longinos’ observation of Native American burning (pp. 129) (example of Native American land management practices used to promote medicinal plants)
Native American use of fire to influence plant growth (pp. 134) (example of Native American land management practices used to promote medicinal plants)
Medicinal plants encouraged by Native American burning (pp. 145) (example of Native American land management practices used to promote medicinal plants)
Blackburn and Anderson [62]
Adoption of Native Americans to colonist’s land management practices (pp. 27) (example of land management practices used by Native American to promote medicinal plants constrained at the Missions)
Spanish authorities prohibit Native Americans from burning (pp. 45) (example of land management practices used by Native American to promote medicinal plants constrained at the Missions)
Wilken-Robertson [32]
5. Knowledge of medicinal plants was a source of power and income for the Native American shamans who did not want to share it
Structure of shamanism among California Native Americans (pp. 55-56) (example of Native American power structure effecting the use of medicinal plants) Bean [79]
Secret knowledge (pp. 3) (example of Native American power structure effecting the use of medicinal plants) Boscana [63]
Continued native practice of medicine (pp. 110) (example of Native American power structure effecting the use of medicinal plants)
Native practices took place in neophyte quarters (pp. 112-113) (example of Native American power structure effecting the use of medicinal plants)
Priests lament continued pagan practices of shamans at missions (pp. 183) (example of difficulty priest had in curtailing Native American customs)
Lightfoot [21]
Shaman’s skills required a “lifetime’ of experience (pp. 132-133) (example of Native American power structure effecting the use of medicinal plants) Margolin [80]
Shaman’s methods of healing (pp. 27-28) (example of Native American power structure effecting the use of medicinal plants) Milliken [74]
Shamans were skilled at the arts of healing (pp. 10) (example of Native American power structure effecting the use of medicinal plants) Rawls [75]
Neophytes preserved much of their culture after baptism without the knowledge of the priests (pp. 94) (example of Native Americans attempting to preserve their knowledge and use of native plants for medicinal purposes) Sandos [76]
Different kinds of shamans (pp. 142) (example of Native American power structure effecting the use of medicinal plants)
Shamans secretive about their remedies (pp. 173) (example of Native Americans attempting to preserve their knowledge and use of native plants for medicinal purposes)
Timbrook [68]
6. Structural Organization of the administration of Missions left little time for direct communication between priest and neophytes
Alcaldes appointed by priests (pp. 112) (example of priests using intermediaries in dealing with Native Americans) Lightfoot [21]
Priest’s organization of neophyte community at the missions (pp. 9) (example of priests using intermediaries in dealing with Native Americans) Sandos [76]
Number of Spanish/Mexican people at the mission compared to number of neophytes (pp. 488) (example of the large numbers of Native Americans at themission compared to priest) Shipek [77]
7. Knowledge of herbal medicine lost by theneophyte’schildren and grandchildren
Traditional customs forgotten at the missions (pp. 192) (example of knowledge lost by second and third generation neophytes) Castillo [59]
Undermining of traditional knowledge from one generation to the next at the missions (pp. 221) (example of knowledge lost by second and third generation neophytes)
Gradual impoverishment of Native American lifestyle at the missions (pp. 222) (example of knowledge lost by second and third generation neophytes)
Milliken [74]
Previous ways changed the longer neophytes were at the missions (pp. 157) (example of knowledge lost by second and third generation neophytes)
Neophytes lost touch with their culture quickly at the northern mission, but not so quickly at the southern missions (pp. 181-182) (example of knowledge lost by second and third generation neophytes)
Sandos [76]
Impact of mission system on indigenous medical knowledge (pp. 17) (example of knowledge lost by second and third generation neophytes)
Impact of historical processes on ethnobotanical knowledge (pp. 15-16) (example of knowledge lost by second and third generation neophytes)
Wilken-Robertson [32]
8. Limitations to transportation
Spanish restriction of exclusion and restriction of foreign trade with their possessions in the New World would have limited the transport of medicinal plants back to Spain (pp. 436-437) (example of constraints on the transportation of medicinal plants)
Every year a transport ship arrived in San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco with supplies for the Missions. Priests were required to pay for and to pay for any materials shipped back to Spain. The costs restricted shipment of medicinal herbs. (pp. 437) (example of constraints on the transportation of medicinal plants)
In 1825 Governor Echeandia forbid the missionaries to trade with any vessel outside of the four Presidio ports. This required the expensive transport of materials on the backs of mules from Missions distant from the ports (pp. 224) (example of constraints on the transportation of medicinal plants)
Engelhardt [64]
After 1810 California was cut off from Spain and Mexico due to the civil war taking place in Mexico. This caused the missions to become more dependent on local landscapes for food and basic goods (pp. 67) (example of constraints on the transportation of medicinal plants) Lightfoot [21]
Native Americans received inadequate medical care because of limited supplies of medicines (pp. 251-252) (example of constraints on the transportation of medicinal plants) Langsdorff (1927)