Corpus Christi Churches
Dozens of missions and churches were built on the Plataeu by the Jesuits in an attempt to convert the local population. The photographs in this gallery show these structures on the Plateau in use by the local population, specifically during Corpus Christi processions. During the Feast of Corpus Christi, the churches were used to say Mass and receive the Eucharist before processing out for a continuation of the ceremony.
Along with being spiritual locations, these buildings became landmarks on the Plateau. Permanant settlement was a new idea to the Plateau Natives, one that changed the face of the Plateau in many ways. Having missions and towns all over the Plateau destroyed the traditionally nomadic Plateau way of life. Where tribes used to travel seasonally, these missions changed migratory patterns and drained the already stressed resources of the Plateau.
According to most Jesuits, however, Native peoples were abundantly happy to welcome them to the Plateau. While that is a debatable fact, it can be seen that the Feast of Corpus Christi attracted tribes from distant places to come and recieve prayer, regardless of their motivation. Native people seemed to enjoy the physical and spiritual traditions of Christianity more than the religion itself. This disconnect may have been derived from the Native understanding of spirituality, which is heavily linked to individual spiritual power. Christianity, for many Natives, did not provide quite the spiritual boost as was intially hoped for.
Spiritual implications aside, it is undeniable that the various Jesuit missions, churches, and chapels became physical landmarks on the Plateau in the early 20th century.