Someone unfamiliar picks you up and tries to find what you are all about while integrating you back into your world which appears destroyed wherever you tread. Picture yourself now in the same world in which you are the only one who knows that it's fake and destroyed. If you can accept that then you are ready to read ISHI! The explanation of the relationship Kroeber and Ishi are superb and I cried through most of this book. A book about Ishi was required reading for a project I worked on that was promoted my the Cherokee tribe.
Reading this book was the most important part of my project! Mar 06, Asails F rated it it was amazing Shelves: history-american , nonfiction , personal , environmental. Excellent and overly sad story about the very end of a culture If you have not read this you will most likely remain ignorant of the worlds greatest loss. If you do read this and don't get it then that is also a loss to the world Aug 02, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction.
When I first picked up this book, I didn't have high hopes. It was my nephew's book from college that my sister had decluttered when he graduated. If I remember anything about college, it is that the assigned reading was usually pretty dry and boring. I'm so happy I was pleasantly surprised. This book shows people how horrible the situation was for the Native Americans as the white settlers expanded westward through North America. The book begins by describing how groups of men would periodicall When I first picked up this book, I didn't have high hopes.
The book begins by describing how groups of men would periodically go out to exterminate the Native Americans living in northern California. I would have given this book five stars if the main text had been as expressive as the Afterword. The author touches your heart by describing the how the Native Americans view nature as not 'wilderness', but a home where they lived in harmony with Nature.
It was only the white man that thought of it as wilderness. The main story of Ishi and Kroeber was interesting but I felt it was a little too 'matter-of-fact'. Even when Ishi died, I did not get a good sense of what Kroeber's relationship was with him. I would imagine he was saddened and grieving, but it's not really expressed in the text.
Wild Men: Ishi and Kroeber in the Wilderness of Modern America
It was an engrossing read, but it was hard to connect with the main characters through so much presentation of the facts. Apr 03, Cathy Douglas rated it it was ok Shelves: , history-nonfiction. This book retells Ishi's story, juxtaposed with Alfred Kroeber's personal history and details of the contextual history of the era.
This is a neat idea, but I wasn't impressed by the execution. Certain very important details are glossed over -- for example, Ishi's choice to come out of the wilderness and throw himself at the mercy of a white civilization which had always been antagonistic When I grew up in California I read both of Theodora Kroeber's Ishi books, both for school and for pleasure. Certain very important details are glossed over -- for example, Ishi's choice to come out of the wilderness and throw himself at the mercy of a white civilization which had always been antagonistic toward him and his tribe in the past.
Why did he come out at the time and place he did? Maybe Kroeber himself never found out, but it seems to me a pretty important question if we are trying to understand Ishi as a human being, rather than some kind of artifact. In Sackman's long-winded epilogue, he says: And yet there was a limit to just how far I could go in representing the point of view of each man. It's hard -- as well as perilous and presumptuous -- to get inside the head of another, especially when the other is a real person who lived in the past. Doing so involves a kind of violation, and I was particularly sensitive about this with regard to Ishi.
An understandable reservation, even admirable, but it makes for rather dry reading, and doesn't much illuminate his subject. Of course a historian doesn't want to put words in the mouth of a historical person, but I would think speculation about motives and cultural reasoning would be part of the job. Sackman tries to do this from time to time, imagining for example how Ishi's first train ride must have appeared to him.
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But I felt he shied away from applying this kind of examination to the more important junctures in Ishi's and Kroeber's story. I came away with a lot of questions about Kroeber as well. What was behind his decision to leave so much of the work with Ishi to others? We know he had something of a professional breakdown at one point, anguished that anthropologists sometimes harm human beings for the sake of examining cultures. That's pretty heavy stuff.
But everything after Ishi's death comes in the Epilogue, along with pages and pages and pages of repetitive philosophical stuff about Indians and their landscape and -- oh, I don't know what; to be honest, I couldn't finish it. I was also annoyed when Sackman ran off on tangents that had nothing to do with the story, like the history of the movie industry in Niles Canyon. This book has an interesting topic and a good heart, and the modern perspective on the factors surrounding the history of Kroeber and Ishi is welcome. But I'm sorry to say the poor execution made a weak tea of it.
Oct 08, Pat rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. My husband read this and recommended it.
A balanced, though sad, look at Ishi and Kroebler. Varden Frias rated it really liked it Jun 09, Boyd Cothran rated it it was amazing Jun 14, Luke rated it it was ok Aug 05, Gillian rated it really liked it Jan 05, Elayne Allebest rated it it was amazing Jan 19, George Fisher rated it did not like it Jan 06, Julia rated it liked it Sep 26, Randy White rated it it was amazing Feb 14, Kurt Hunt rated it it was amazing Jan 13, Rachel Cartwright rated it really liked it Aug 06, Cameron Lothspeich rated it really liked it Dec 19, Matt Giddings rated it liked it Mar 04, Derek Fenner rated it really liked it Mar 27, Dave rated it liked it Oct 25, Both Mexicans and Americans tracked down Indians for the theft of property, such as horses and cattle.
About This Item
Americans, like the four cowboys, linked the acquisition of property to their social identities. An attack on one was an attack on all and deserved retribution. In the late eighteenth century, more than , Indians lived in California. The worst, of course, was yet to come. By , the hunting of California Indians, in conjunction with disease and starvation, reduced the population to little more than 25, The near eradication of California Indians was the ultimate desire of a settler society that needed indigenous people to disappear, so that their land in particular, and California as a state, could be a country for white men and white families.
By , the hunting of Yahi had apparently reduced their population to this one man. The hunting of Ishi was not always physically violent.
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Beginning in , anthropologists from the University of California tracked Ishi. A concealed Ishi welcomed the surveyors into camp with two warning arrows shot from a bow. Although there were some skeptics, many believed the story. Ishi and other Yahis had spent the years between the Kingsley Creek massacre and the invasion of their camp pilfering food, glass, and metal from cabins. Waterman, to hunt for these elusive Indians.
They wanted to study them before they disappeared. Kroeber embarked on a long career studying California Indian languages and cultures. Following the guidance of his mentor and academic adviser Franz Boas, Kroeber endeavored to salvage what was remaining of California Indian cultures and languages before they disappeared in the face of modernity. Kroeber tracked reliable informants among the Mojaves, Yuroks, and Yukis. In , Ishi turned up at a slaughterhouse in Oroville and was subsequently captured by workers, who turned him over to the local sheriff.
Wild Men: Ishi and Kroeber in the Wilderness of Modern America by Douglas Cazaux Sackman
In , Kroeber insisted that Ishi return to Deer Creek, where he hoped that Ishi would show him what life was like in the wild. For Kroeber, the wilderness was a haven from modernity and urbanization. Kroeber took pictures of Ishi hunting, calling rabbits, and butchering a deer. He and Ishi also mapped the Yahi homeland. For Ishi, though, Deer Creek was not some pristine, premodern landscape. Instead, it was a landscape haunted by those killed by modern Indian hunters, such as the four cowboys at Kingsley Cave.
In , when Ishi returned to Oroville on the way to Deer Creek, town residents did not believe it was the same man who had been captured near the slaughterhouse.
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Homer Speegle, who saw Ishi in the Oroville jail in , noted that Ishi was considerably heavier than before and wore American-style clothing, hardly the trappings of an Indian, let alone the last wild Yahi. In the mids, another group took up the pursuit of Ishi: California Indians themselves. Marie Potts, a Maidu activist, worked with other California Indians to agitate for land claims in the s and s and was a member of the National Congress on American Indians. In , Tillie Hardwick, a Pomo woman, led a Supreme Court case that eventually overturned the dreadful termination of California Indian tribes earlier in the twentieth century.
In , the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians won a court case that paved the way for the expansion of Indian gaming in California and the rest of the United States. Early on, Ishi was not a symbol for this tribal sovereignty movement. Since the s, in one way or another, Ishi has been vital to stories Californians tell about themselves and their state. At first, Ishi and his kin represented the savage Indian on the frontier, indiscriminately killing livestock as well as white men, women, and children, and deserving a violent end himself.
Ishi has symbolized the anthropological Indian, practicing precontact ways supposedly uncontaminated by modernity. Ishi has signified tribal sovereignty and self-determination, the renaissance of indigenous politics and culture made possible by the survival of indigenous people and nations, and the economic opportunities of Indian gaming. Yet, Ishi has also been elusive. He survived genocide. As with many aspects of American Indian history, people often look for those things that tell them something about themselves, not about indigenous people.