Ishi, the ‘last wild Indian’ of North America: an anniversary

By Terria Smith, Crosscurrents From KALW News

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the public debut of a man called Ishi. Ishi was Native American, a Yana from the Deer Creek area, about 150 miles northeast of Berkeley. And for the past century he’s been known as “the last wild Indian in North America.”

In some ways, he’s famous: The anthropology department building at UC Berkeley is named for Alfred Kroeber, the scholar who worked closely with Ishi, and Dwinelle Hall’s outdoor enclosure is named Ishi Court. UC Berkeley’s anthropology community held a conference in September dedicated to Ishi’s memory, and the California Museum in Sacramento has a yearlong exhibit featuring some of his possessions.

So, who was Ishi? And how could Ishi have been the so-called “last Indian” when close to a million Native Americans live in California today? Reporter Terria Smith – who is also California Native American – tells us Ishi’s story.

Read the complete story at ‘Crosscurrents’ from KALW News.