Monday, February 16, 2015

Biography: Toypurina

Toypurina:  I take this from an article in the Metro.  It is based on a book by Elias Castillo “A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions.”  It appears he also wrote this article for the Metro.
Toypurina was a young Native American maiden with some beauty.  She was a child when the California missions were established.  She saw herself and her people go from having plenty of food, and a way of life with considerable freedom.  Even though she did not join the missions, she saw the change on the people in general.  She herself was of the Gabrielino Tribe; which tribe did not, for the most part, convert to Catholocism and join the missions.
When Toypurina was a young woman, she lead a revolt against the missions.  The hope was for several missions to overthrow the Franciscans and kill them.  She is the only North American Native American woman to lead a revolt.  She consulted with Nicolas Jose someone who had converted, and lived inside the mission; but had become disaffected with it because native dances were not allowed.  Together they recruited several tribal groups to participate in the uprising.  They selected Mission San Gabriel as the first place of attack, and the night of October 25 1785.  There was much planning and coordination, and a Spanish soldier, who had taught himself the Tongva language, overheard the plans.  He took his knowledge to the friars, who were able to use this against the Indians.  Toypurina was considered a sorceress, and she had prophesized that the friars would all be found dead in their room.  The friars hid elsewhere, while soldiers took their places in the rooms, pretending to be dead.  When the Indian warriors rushed to their room, and found them dead, the felt they had victory.  However when the dead friars came back to life, and were joined by soldiers, the warriors fled in fear, and the revolt was thwarted.  Toypurina, Jose, and a couple chiefs were taken prisoner and put on trial for their revolt.  

Toyurina’s initial response was, “I hate the padres and all of you for living here on my native soil, for trespassing on the land of my forefathers and despoiling our tribal domains.”  However as the trial progressed, Toypurina’s attitude changed.  She was a beautiful woman of 24 years.  When she softened, she was kept at the mission for a year to assure her repentance was genuine.  She converted to Christianity and was baptized.  SHe was exiled to a different mission, where she married a Spanish soldier.  They eventually moved to Mission San Juan Bautista, where she passed away and is buried.  

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