New documentary explores Junípero Serra sainthood controversy

A new documentary short explores the controversy surrounding the canonization of Junípero Serra, the 18th-century Franciscan friar who came from Spain to evangelize California Indians. At times rough around the edges (in terms of production value), the film, titled “Saint: Canonization of Junípero Serra,” offers important historical detail regarding relations between Serra and the California Indians, descendants of whom now accuse Serra of having helped to commit genocide. The documentary presents contemporary viewpoints straddling both sides of the debate. Some interviewees were featured in a recent NCR article on the canonization controversy, which explored indigenous objection. The film was produced by Vision Maker Media, a production company focusing on Native American issues, and runs 30 minutes long. On Sept. 23rd, Pope Francis will officially make Serra a saint in Washington D.C.



[Vinnie Rotondaro is NCR national correspondent. His email address is]

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