Publication Date

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Charlotte Sunseri


Armed resistance, California History, Mission, Native American History, Resistance Leaders, San Francisco Bay Area Native Groups

Subject Areas

Archaeology; Native American studies; History


This study focuses on how secular, governmental, and ecclesiastical Hispanic Empire institutions influenced the response and resistance of San Francisco Native American groups from 1769 to 1846. This project draws on late 18th and early 19th century primary Spanish documents and secondary sources to help understand the context of indigenous people's adaptive and response behaviors during this period as well as the nuances of their perspective and experience. Using both electronic and physical documents from a number of archival databases, primary Spanish documents were translated and correlated with baptismal and death mission records. This allowed for formulating alternative perspectives and putting indigenous response and resistance into context. The results of this study indicated that when acts of resistance to the colonial mission system led by charismatic Native American leaders are placed into chronological order, it appears these responses did not consist of isolated incidents. Rather, they appear to be connected through complex networks of communication and organization, and formal Native American armed resistance grew more intensive over time.