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$50M for missions – Role of settlements controversial

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A California foundation is planning the first major renovation of the state’s missions in nearly a century, the Christian Science Monitor reported July 19.

The new California Missions Foundation plans $50 million worth of repairs over the next few years. The foundation has already spent $100,000 in its first few months of operation.

The missions are controversial. For many, they are symbols of European conquest of Indians. The biggest killers were the diseases introduced by the missions and other European settlement, which wiped out half of the Indian population of California.

The missions are hugely popular today, however, at least partly because they were the first multicultural institutions in an extremely racially diverse state. The missions are also famous for their art, architecture and crafts, as well as for introducing olives and grapes to California.

Richard Ameil, the foundation’s president, says missions have been a lifelong source of inspiration for him.

For full story, see the Christian Science Monitor.

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