An expedition to the Guaycura nation in the Californias

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9780914073116: An expedition to the Guaycura nation in the Californias

On March 3, 1719, what the Jesuit missionary Clemente Guilln was to call, "An Expedition to the Guaycura Nation in the Californias," left the Royal Presidio of Loreto for the unknown south, and the land of the Guaycuras. We are going to go on another and more cerebral expedition to the Guaycura nation to try to rediscover something of its history and geography in this largely forgotten part of Baja California Sur, Mexico.

At first glance such a project can hardly seem promising. One modern historian claimed that the mission of San Luis Gonzaga was the least mentioned of all the Jesuit missions in contemporary records, or by the old historians of the Order, and described the country through which the Padre Guilln passed on a second expedition to La Pazas, "this broken and well-nigh impassable country, the worst in lower California."

Its missions were the first to disappear, and its history fell into oblivion. Even today traffic on the trans-peninsular highway speeds by to the west, but few strangers venture onto its dusty and rocky roads. The ancient heartland of the Guaycuras is all but forgotten.

Yet all this should not lead us to imagine that it does not have a history worth recovering. Modern American California, for example, owes the Guaycura nation a special debt, for the suppression of its missions and the exile of its people were due, in part, to free up resources to found the new California missions in the north. Further, its missionaries have left us a portrait of the lives of the Guaycuras that allows us to see something of how ancient Americans must have lived. Our task, then, is to recover this history and assemble it into a whole, to begin to ask about its wider significance, and if we are lucky, to occasionally catch a glimpse of the magic that has drawn travelers to Baja California for generations. The land of the Guaycuras is, in fact, a microcosm of human history from its hunter-gatherers onward, and it turns out to be a surprisingly well-documented one so we are afforded the double pleasure of discovering a small piece of history, and reflecting on what larger lessons it has to teach us.

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About the Author:

James Arraj and his wife Tyra are the directors of an extensive website, where Christian metaphysics and mysticism meet Eastern religions, Jungian psychology, and a new sense of the earth.

They live deep in a forest far from paved roads and power lines near Crater Lake, Oregon. There they raised their children, built their own house, grow salads in a solar greenhouse, and create books and videos with the electricity from their solar panels, and they have traveled for many years in Baja California.

They invite your comments about this book.
Inner Growth Books
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Chiloquin, OR 97624

Phone number: 541-783-3126

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