On August 29th 1911, Ishi, the last of the Yahi, walked out of the Sierra wilderness and into American culture. Estimated to have been born around 1860-1862, Ishi’s life was marred by fighting and massacre. As the last of his people, a tribe thought to be extinct, Ishi provided a vital link to cultural information about North America’s Native American history.
Born at the decline of the Yahi population, at a time when gold mining had damaged water supplies, decimated fishing and scared away deer, Ishi survived the Three Knolls Massacre, an attack that reduced the Yahi people to approximately sixty. To avoid further clashes, Ishi and his family went into hiding for the next forty years, avoiding the world being built by the new settlers of the California Gold Rush.