Watch CBS News

Ventura Removes Controversial Junipero Serra Statue Following Protest

VENTURA (CBSLA) – The city of Ventura Thursday quickly followed through on its promise to remove two statues of controversial Father Junipero Serra.

Ventura Removes Junipero Serra Statues Following Protest
A statue of Father Junipero Serra is removed from outside Ventura City Hall in Ventura, Calif., on July 23, 2020. (Tom Spence/KVTA News)

Last week, the Ventura City Council voted to remove a bronze statue of the Roman Catholic priest which sits outside City Hall, along with a wooden statue of Serra located inside City Hall.

The bronze statue was removed just before 5 a.m. Wednesday and is being relocated to Mission San Buenaventura.

The wooden statue is being moved into storage until a more permanent home is found. Its unclear if it has already been removed as well.

Serra's legacy has come under fire in the wake of the George Floyd protests and the discussion it has prompted over racial injustice.

Serra brought Catholic missions to California in the 18th century and founded nine of the 21 current missions in the state.

In 2015, he was canonized by Pope Francis -- the first canonization on U.S. soil -- and has remained a controversial figure for what critics argue was his poor treatment of Native Americans. They say he was an agent of Spanish colonialism who forced them to convert to Catholicism and destroyed their tribes and culture.

A Serra statue was toppled in downtown Los Angeles last month, as was one in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.