Srinisspace - Ishi the last Yahi - Sad story of a tribe

This post is a sad story of a last survivor of Yahi race.

There were many indigenous native groups in American subcontinent. One of them was Yana in California and Yahi group was subset of Yana group.

It was one of the primitive group consist of 404 people. Their main food source was fishing and hunting.

It was at the time of gold rush in California, so many miners and settlers settled near to the native American settlements. The mining caused serious damages to the eco-system which affected the natives.

The Yahi’s population decreased due to food shortage and constant conflicts with the settlers for food searching. There were even bounties announced for native american heads by the settlers and after the Massacre, the remaining Yahis retreated, several of them died.

In 1908, a group of survivors from Yahi, A man, his mother, sister and uncle came near to a settler’s camp. To avoid contact with settlers three of them flew while the mother hid herself in blankets. Only that Man was able to return to see her dying mother.

He fled and spent three years in wilderness. After starvation and lack of food, he finally went to western world for survival, but captured and taken into custody for forest fires.

The capture of “Wild Man” caught so many attentions and Professors in University of California brought him to the University. He spent rest of his life in the University as a Janitor and helped in researching the Yahi culture and linguistics. As a tribal, he lacked immunity for most of the European diseases and In 1916, he died of Tuberculosis.

Why he was called as Ishi? Ishi actually means “Man” in his tribal language. In Yahi culture, one can introduce his name to an outsider if he was recommended by another Yahi member, as a friend. So, when asked by the professor for his name, his answer was “I have none, because there were no people to name me”, meaning that there was no other Yahi to speak his name on his behalf. So they called him Ishi.

His friends cremated his mortal remaining with his belongings from Yahi. He lived enough to see the fall of his culture and tribe.

What is the point in destroying a race or culture for benifits or belief of our own??

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