Friar Bringas Reports to the King
192 pages, 7 x 10
7 tables; 4 images
Release Date:23 May 2017
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Friar Bringas Reports to the King

Methods of Indoctrination on the Frontier of New Spain, 1796–97

The University of Arizona Press
When Friar Diego Bringas penned his 1796–97 report on conditions in northwestern New Spain, he was imbued with an enthusiastic drive for reform. Hoping to gain the King of Spain’s support in improving the missionary program, Bringas set down a detailed history of all that had happened in the region since Father Kino’s day. His writings offer a valuable study of Spanish attempts to bring about cultural change among the Piman Indians.
Daniel S. Matson and Bernard L. Fontana have translated the Bringas document and added an informative introduction, notes, and references. They analyze Spanish methods of indoctrination and examine the implications in terms of the modern world.
Friar Bringas carefully explained various missionary and secular policies, laws, and regulations. He pointed out why, in his opinion, Spanish efforts to convert the Piman Indians had failed. He also provided a report of the orders establishing the ill-fated Yuma missions. His fascinating account of the Gila River Pimas is one of the most complete ethnographic descriptions from that era.
Friar Bringas Reports to the King is an important study of Spain’s attempts to assimilate the Indians. It offers a deeper understanding of the history of the Pimería Alta.
A sensitive and precise translation in which the reform-minded Father Diego Bringas examines various missionary and secular policies for assimilation of Indian societies.'—Mid-America

'Graced by an ambitious introduction, copious notes, and a smooth translation, . . . the Bringas report is valuable for understanding Franciscan activities in a region where scholarly literature has focused on Jesuits.'—Journal of American History

'Students of Arizona history and that of the Borderlands will find this volume a welcome addition to their libraries.’—California Historical Quarterly
‘The informative and lucid introduction critically places Friar Bringas’ document in historical perspective. . . . Fontana’s copious explanatory notes to the report confidently guide the reader. . . . [A] significant contribution to borderlands history.’—Pacific Historical Review
Daniel S. Matson's career as a linguist and translator began with a bilingual upbringing on the United States and Mexican border at Douglas, Arizona. Between 1940 and 1944 he worked among the Tohono O'odham Indians, becoming fluent in their tongue and immersing himself in their culture. He studied at the University of Arizona (B.A). and San Luis Rey College in California (M.A. in social studies). In 1950, Matson joined the Anthropology faculty at the University of Arizona. With Albert Schroeder, Matson translated and edited the 1590-91 journal of Gaspar Castaño de Sosa, published as A Colony on the Move.

Bernard L. Fontana, well-known specialist in the history of the Piman Indians and the missions of Pimería Alta, received his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona. An ethnologist at the Arizona State Museum and president of the Southwestern Mission Research Center, he has been editor of Ethnohistory and The Kiva, and has edited and coauthored numerous articles and books.
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