Ishi: A Story of Dignity, Hope and Courage

November 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

On September 21 I went to the Arts and Lecture event Ishi: A Story of Dignity, Hope and Courage.  Not having grown up in California I hadn’t heard this well known story before and found it facinating.  This event began with a lecture about the Ishi and what Ishi’s presence meant to the Native Americans and the people of California.  Ishi’s is an incredible story of survival  and the will to continue living.  He was the last of his people of the Yahi tribe.  It was also very sad, that he was all alone and that people treated him as though he was a sideshow at a carnival.  I also found it very sad that after all he already been through even after his death his ways weren’t respected until recently.  After “wandering’ into Oroville he was studied by anthropologisst who claimed to be his friends and to care about his needs.  However in the end anthropologist Alfred Kroeber was the one that disrepected him by not burying all of his body together which was Ishi’s belief.  Recently he was buried in one indisclosed place. 

This story is one of many of loss of culture and the disrespect of cultures, not only here but all over the world.  When we lose cultures we lose thier knowledge, stories and thier art.  Every artist can only become better the more they learn about the arts of the past.  I find that by looking at and studying these cultures you add to your arsenal of what you are able to create.


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