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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Ishi: The Last of His Tribe


Today is the 107th anniversary that Ishi, the last known "primitive man", stepped out of the wilderness and into the Western World near Oroville, California. Ishi was approximately fifty years old at the time. He was discovered attempting to eat from freshly slaughtered beeves. Not knowing what to do with the "wildman", the locals who discovered Ishi called the sheriff. The sheriff knew the starving man was Indian, but no one could converse with him. Ishi was eventually taken to the University of California in Berkeley, department of anthropology where he would live out his days. Here, Ishi was interviewed and closely studied. He revealed much about his life, the Yahi, and Yani. He offered a glimpse into what life was like for many native Americans before the modern Europeans arrived. He was truly the last of his tribe. The story of Ishi is a very interesting one and has been made into a biopic television series, documentaries, and the 1992 movie Ishis: The Last of His Tribe. There have been several written works regarding Ishi as well. Ishi died in 1916 of Tuberculosis. His last words were, "you stay, I go". 

(Note: For some reason this movie begins around the twenty minute mark. Simply rewind to the beginning. It is a very good film)
The clip below is of a Mr. Kessler. He was one of the men who discovered Ishi the night he wandered out of the wilderness and into the area of the slaughterhouse these men were operating. Mr. Kessler appears to be speaking to a group of either high school or college age young people. This video was filmed in 1973 and is very interesting as well.

Click HERE to read more about Ishi.



  1. Also befriended by Drs Pope and Young who he taught bow hunting. Yep, same guys

  2. This is an important video by Mr. Kessler. Too bad that so few people like those scouts are interested in things like this now days. To understand our future, we must know our history. Thanks for posting this, Jeffery. I actually never had heard of Ishi, and I thought I was fairly well read. Very interesting, and a rare treat.


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