DVD Running time: 38 minutes
On August 28, 1911, an extremely emaciated Indian man stepped from obscurity into the white man’s world near Oroville, California. Wearing tattered, weather-beaten clothes, he was in no condition to resist any threats to his life. He wore no shoes and his face told the world that he was very tired and perhaps near the end.
He was immediately jailed in Oroville and word spread quickly that the “last wild Indian” had been captured. Anthropologists at the University of California in San Francisco were notified and they has great interest in studying this “last wild Indian,” so he was transported to San Francisco where he lived in captivity for five years until he died from tuberculosis.
The brief time he spent in the world of the white man brought this lone Indian enormous celebrity. White people were curious about him and he too was curious about them. Eventually, he named “Ishi,” a name taken from his own language which meant “the man.”
Ishi brought dignity and character from the aboriginal world. He was a diplomat for the societies that were being destroyed by the white man at that time. To a world of violence and destruction Ishi brought peace and kindness. A hundred years later this is a story about Ishi.
This film was funded by The Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Thomas Gonzales Family Foundation, The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and Union Bank of California