This paper argues that a complex of accounting measures — account books, inventories of accumulated wealth, and detailed instructions for production performance — were used to inculcate Western values into the native population located at five Franciscan missions along the San Antonio River in New Spain (present-day Texas) from 1718 to 1794. Bolstered by the need to alleviate communications problems caused by extreme isolation, the missionaries constructed detailed mission documents that described the acquisition of scarce resources, reported the aggregation of material and spiritual mission wealth, and controlled daily production performance of the native population. In short, the resulting mission economic system, which held the Indians to certain notions of accountability, primarily by restricting their choices, nourished the Western view of income distribution based on effort. We propose that these procedures ultimately caused the Coahuiltecans to abandon their native beliefs, and gradually, to be absorbed into Spanish society. The 150 Coahuiltecan tribes ceased to exist as a distinct culture by the early 19th century. The exploitation and ultimate subjugation of the Coahuiltecan Indians parallels strikingly subsequent developments in Canada, Australia, and the Scottish Highlands.

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