Few people within the Stanford community likely have as much experience as university archaeologist Laura Jones with the issues involved in renaming university landmarks celebrating Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Spanish missionary who founded the California Mission system.
Jones, who is also Stanford director of Heritage Services, staffed the three committees that wrestled with the challenge of reviewing the request by Native American students – supported by the Associated Students of Stanford University – that Serra’s name be replaced on campus. They cited historic and ongoing harms of the mission system to the Native community.
Jones’ experience with Native American history in the Bay Area is deep, dating to her studies as a Stanford anthropology graduate student in the 1980s. She was, for instance, involved in the 1989 repatriation by Stanford of Native American remains to the Muwekma Ohlone, who once lived on this land.