The 17th established Mission, Mission San Fernando, captured 3,126 entries of continuous baptismal records from September 8, 1797 to September 4, 1855 consisting of enslaved ancestors from the Indian villages in the geographically surrounding area ranging from present day Santa Catalina Island and Malibu in the west, Cahuenga and Encino in the south, Tujunga in the east, and as far north as present-day Tejon Ranch. The village at Mission San Fernando was Achoicominga. On the afternoon of the founding day, ten native children, five boys and five girls, were baptized, having the first boy baptized named Fernando Maria. The Mission was built by the Fernandeño ancestors of the FTBMI.
Enslavement at Mission San Fernando by the Spanish drastically changed the daily lives of the Native Americans who would be called Fernandeños. Families were separated, children were married off, sacred sites were demolished, culture was suppressed, traditional ways of life were destroyed, food sources were removed by environmental degradation from invasive species, and the Fernandeños were massacred through Spanish-brought disease, hunger, violence, and slavery. The Fernandeño acknowledge a mass grave within the Mission grounds where more than a thousand people still lack adequate recognition today. The life of a Fernandeño person was completely overseen and controlled by the Mission Padres. For example, the Fernandeños could not leave the Mission grounds without the Padres’ permission and often received corporal punishment for violating the rules. Against incredible odds, some Fernandeños survived and maintained aspects of their cultural practices privately while others refused to identify publicly as Native as an act of survival.
The Catholic leadership at Mission San Fernando continues to perpetuate harm in their treatment of the FTMBI people as both visitors and descendants. Such harm is promoted by the lack of recognition or historically accurate truth-telling within Mission San Fernando interpretive signage, displays, and exhibitions. Furthermore, against the FTBMI’s pleas, the Mission San Fernando continues to use FTBMI cultural deposits for inappropriate uses such as door stops and bowls for loose change donations to the church. Thus, although a Mission System property is historically significant to tribes, in some cases such as that of the FTBMI, the mission still perpetuates harm to the descended tribal community and has lacked efforts to undue past trauma.
Mission San Fernando Rey de España
15151 San Fernando Mission Blvd.
Mission Hills, CA 91345