I live in the high foothills of northern California, along the Cascade-Sierra divide, on land where Ishi once lived.
Ishi, “the last of the Yahi.” The marooned American Indian famously portrayed, with no little sympathy, by Theodora Kroeber in Ishi In Two Worlds. The man who, on August 29, 1911, most probably walked across what is today “my” “land,” on his way down out of the wilderness, into a corral occupied by east Oroville butchers. Who was briefly jailed, then spent the four remaining years of his TB-shortened life as a museum piece, literally living in a Museum of Anthropology, at the University of California in San Francisco.
Ishi, in his four short years among whites, didn’t say much. He never, as an example, revealed his name. At all times, however, whenever among whites, he was adamant: he was the last of his tribe. All other Yahi, all his relations, alpha to omega, had died.
This is my 34th year (on and off) on Ishi’s land.
And I will tell you this: Ishi was not the last of his tribe.
And, in this diary, I will tell you why that is all I will tell you.