Apparently this is religion in early/colonial America week here at the blog! Recently I had occasion to re-survey some of the literature about the California missions, especially one of my favorite recent works of scholarship, Steven Hackel's Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis: Indian-Spanish Relations in Colonial California, 1769-1850, for my money the most thorough scholarly study of the subject, full of painstakingly constructed data sets from mission records -- the book is reviewed at length, and quite thoughtfully, here.
Religious studies scholar Quincy Newell's new book on native life and religious practice at a California mission is now out, and it came to my attention via the Choice review reprinted below. Her work brings ethnographic and religious studies methods to bear on the subject, and zeroes in on one mission in particular. Another longer and more extensive review may be found here; the money quote there, for our purposes here: "
Below is the review from Choice. Be sure also to check out Quincy Newell's contributions at the blog Religion in the American West.