Be on the Right Side of Pacifica's History: Remove the Statue of Gaspar de Portola

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We, the undersigned, are calling for the removal of the statue memorializing colonizer Gaspar de Portola located in Pacifica, California. The highly visible statue is located in one of the most frequented spots in Pacifica, next to the Community Center, Highway 1 and Linda Mar Beach.

Gaspar de Portola was a colonizer. He was born in Catalonia, Spain and was of Catalan nobility. He was commissioned by the Spanish Crown to create a route for the Spanish settlement in California. The intent was to colonize and remove Native Californians from their ancestral homelands. The route he is given credit for was established on pre-existing Native trails. Gaspar de Portola did not “discover” Pacifica, nor did he “discover” the San Francisco Bay.

Pacifica was home to the Aramai, a distinct tribe among dozens of independent Ohlone tribes Native to the Bay Area. They inhabited Pacifica for over 3,000 years before Spanish colonies decimated their people, language, history and culture. 

Before the arrival of Portola and his fellow colonizers in 1769, California had an estimated population of over 300,000 Native Indians. By the late 1800s, that population would be 25,000. Within roughly one century, California Indians would lose their lives, religions, histories, cultures and languages.

In this way, Portola’s expedition marked the beginning of the end for Native peoples in California.

We believe that the colonialism, racism and patriarchy this statue represents has no place in the City of Pacifica, which for many of us is also our beloved home.

We cannot move forward as long as we continue to idolize a past that celebrates genocide. Statues are monuments to people who we honor, and as long as we choose to memorialize those who fought to enslave and exterminate Native Californians, we are telling Native people they are not valued in our communities.

We now have an opportunity and the responsibility to change that narrative to one that respects and values the lives and culture of Native peoples, while also acknowledging the irreparable damage that has already been committed against them and their ancestors.

Their history is OUR California history.

In light of the hate crime inflicted upon George Floyd, with this petition, we ask you, the City of the Pacifica, to remove the statue of Gaspar de Portola promptly. As long as the statue remains, it upholds a toxic culture of domination and oppression by honoring the destruction of marginalized peoples. We ask you to be on the right side of history as we, the undersigned, know that Pacifica can and should do better for this generation and those to come.

 

The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone supports this petition and the removal of statues of colonizers to learn more visit: http://www.ramaytush.com/remove-statues.html