If there is only one thing that comes out of our Paseo project, let it be the understanding of the true name of the El Camino Real road markers.
Our new El Camino Real road marker has never been in a “Mission,” and to refer to them all as “Mission Bells” is incorrect, and perpetuates a false understanding of what they are: road markers. Most people who refer to them as Mission Bells do so being unenlightened, or to purposely inflame passions.
When European explorers arrived, they wrongly assumed, being unenlightened, that they had landed in India, and therefore called the inhabitants they encountered “Indians.” That moniker still persists to this day.
To refer to the El Camino Real road markers as “Mission Bells” is no different than calling Native Americans “Indians” Both are wrong and based on incorrect assumptions perpetuated in stories, movies and the media.
Native Americans don’t come from India, and El Camino Real road markers don’t come from Missions.