SACRAMENTO (CBS 13) — This will be the first canonization on U.S. soil and Junipero Serra will become the first Hispanic saint.

The act is considered one of the most controversial of Pope Francis’ papacy.

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Serra is the founder of the California mission system, but Native Americans say their ancestors were often held against their will and beaten inside those missions.

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“We have no record that Junipero Serra actually beat Indians. But the record is clear, he believed that corporal punishment was indispensable,” said Professor Steven Hackel of University of California Riverside.

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In July, Pope Francis apologized to Native Americans for sins committed in the name of God, but had not directly addressed the controversy surrounding Serra.