Junipero Serra statue to be moved away from Ventura City Hall

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The statue of Junipero Serra is seen in front of Ventura City Hall in this undated photo shared by the city. Junipero Serra’s mission system in California was responsible for the destruction of several tribes, often through the introduction of foreign diseases. Tribes that did survive, such as the Chumash, still suffered greatly and were often forced into building the missions.

The statue of Junipero Serra is seen in front of Ventura City Hall in this undated photo shared by the city. Junipero Serra’s mission system in California was responsible for the destruction of several tribes, often through the introduction of foreign diseases. Tribes that did survive, such as the Chumash, still suffered greatly and were often forced into building the missions.

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Sainthood may reserve a prominent space in heaven for California missionary Junipero Serra, but a statue of the 18th century Roman Catholic priest will soon no longer have a home in front of Ventura City Hall.

Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere, representatives from the Barbareño/Venureño Band of Mission Indians and Father Tom Elewaut, pastor of nearby Mission San Buenaventura, issued a joint statement Thursday agreeing to take down the statue and have it “moved to a more appropriate non-public location.”

“I always knew that this moment, despite all the issues our people have faced, would happen,” Chief Julie Tumamait Stenslie, whose Barbareño/Venureño Band comprises Chumash members, said in a phone interview Thursday evening. “We’re constantly fighting to correct our history, and if there was ever a time to speak up, the time was now.”

While there has been a global movement to remove statues from England to New Zealand, with a focus on Confederate statues in the United States, momentum has been growing in California.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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