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Ishi Last of His Tribe
Theodora Kroeber
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Ishi Last of His Tribe

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  482 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
In the early 1900s, a small band of California Indians of the Yahi tribe resisted the fate that had all but wiped out their people, violent death at the hands of the invading white man. Throughout their final realization that they could survive only by becoming a hidden people, this tiny group held to the gentle moral and religious code of their ancestors. In time, one by ...more
Paperback, 213 pages
Published 1973 by Bantam Doubleday Dell (first published 1964)
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Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian
Picture that you lived in a forest and every man, plant and animal was destroyed except you. 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!

There will be no more ISHI's from North American for many millenium's.

The explanat
Ishi, Last of His Tribe is, as the title suggests, the true story of Tehna-Ishi, the last of the Yahi tribe of Northern California. During the days of the gold rush, white men flocked to California and killed all of the Yahi except for Ishi's family. Ishi grows up knowing only six other people who all cling to the Yahi Way of Life. It isn't long before Ishi is the lone survivor.

Theodora Kroeber beautifully honors Ishi and his culture in her book. She knew him personally, and her husband made it
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a must-read, although I would like to follow it up with a historical account of Ishi's life and "discovery," since this is essentially a novel and Theodora Kroeber never met Ishi.

Ishi was a native Californian whose entire tribe, the Yahi, was driven out from their home or killed during his lifetime. After a time living in solitude, he traveled west, was called to the attention of the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, and spent the rest of his life living in the museum of the Berkeley School
Nov 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ishi, which means man, died in 1916 without ever telling anyone his real name. In 1911 he stumbled out of the wilderness of northern California, sick and malnourished. He ended up spending his last years living in a museum at the University of California as a sort of living exhibit. This book tells the story of his life from his point of view. It is mostly how he and his tribe lived and his life after going to the museum to live. He tells how things changed as the white men came to the area & ...more
J. Whitley
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a beautiful writing of the story of Ishi. I had to set it aside at one point as his family died and he was left alone. I was concerned he would be tortured. The book is one showing how Ishi mad the best of a terrible situation.
Cristina López
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how, or why, but this book popped into my head, and I happened to remember the title!

I'd like to re-read this!
Fabianne Furman
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An understanding of Native American history will always be important, but reading Ishi's story felt especially relevant at a time in which Native American rights are so publically and actively being violated. The biography format makes it easier for the reader to empathize with the plight of Native Americans, even though the first half of the book focuses almost exclusively on Ishi's ancestors before telling his personal story. I found this book to be more engaging than The Heart of Everything T ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really glad I read this. It was on my shelf for years, but I had avoided it because it seemed so tragic. It is tragic, but definitely worth reading. Also, Theodora Kroeber is Ursula K. Le Guin's mother so it was interesting to think about how Kroeber's experience may have influenced Le Guin.
another one of the fourth grade books that kind of changed my experience as a reader (all my teachers throughout my school career - with the exception of the bastard that taught first year english - had us reading things that were really quite complicated for our age level).

in california, fourth graders at most schools do california history. at a catholic school, that means mission projects, but for everyone, i think, it means studying the indians.

so for our unit, we got to read ishi. the stor
This was a pretty good book. I had to read this for summer reading. I rated it 3 stars out of 5, because it just wasn't very good or amazing. For the most part, it was really boring. However, I did kind of like it. The characters were very well-developed. I really liked the end, because it has a deep meaning behind it, and there are many different theories of what the ending means. On the other hand, this book just didn't keep me at the edge of my seat or made me want to read it in my spare tim ...more
Erik Graff
Nov 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: American kids
Recommended to Erik by: Lajla Stousland
Shelves: biography
Spending every childhood summer at Dad's mother's place in Lake Charter Township, Michigan, led to the reading of many books left there by her or by the stream of family friends who would visit. There was no telephone, no phonograph, no tape machine, no television. Reading, conversation, card playing and radio were the only sources of amusement inside the house. Consequently, I read a lot and until I started earning money to buy my own books, I read on a catch as catch can basis.

Ishi was one of
Mark Valentine
The poignant remembrance of a lost culture and people rests with Ishi. I read this with frustration because I was so frustrated: Do we band together to see that no more cultures expire? or do we accept it with fatalism, as if the Mother Culture knows best, even if it acts like a cancer?

I suggest the reading of this short book in schools. Although the language is dated in certain lines, the message needs repetition until cultural diversity and interdependence and shared resources thrive and we s
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is the engaging story of the last of a small Native American tribe, who, due to sickness and hunger was forced to leave his wilderness home in 1911. He spent the remainder of his life living in a museum at the University of California. The friendship he develops with the anthropologists is warming, although they are never able to completely communicate. The book also meaningfully explores the tragic aspects of this story, including the intense loneliness Ishi feels for the remainder of his ...more
Sarah Sammis
The book is probably better suited for a younger reader but I think I appreciated it a little more now that I've been to the places described in the book. As with many books that try to write from the perspective outside the culture of the person who is writing the book I think the author tried too hard to avoid using any words or concepts outside of the Yuni language. There are times when it would have been better to let the narrator step in and fill the blanks.
Paul Brewer
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Interesting Read. Ishi was the last Stone Age Indian in N. America. After his last relative died, he left the forest and was befriended by Saxton Pope (Pope & Young Club). He taugh Saxton and Pope how to make bows, arrows and flint arrowheads. He lived in the museum until he died years later of TB. Very interesting to hear from Ishi how they survived off the land as he taught these skills to his new friends. Sad that he died of a disease that he had no immunity to.
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderfully written, in depth look at the life of a primitive man thrust into the 20th century. The history of his tribe was told lyrically, yet without bias. Much of the reporting was taken directly from the historical record, which was very telling. Ishi's triumph of negotiating the modern world warms the heart. But ultimately it was a sad read for me. The demise of the the American Indian tribes is a dark chapter in our nation's story.
I really, really, really loved this book. I wish it was still part of the curriculum in California public schools. May Waganupa always stand tall and may we never forget the gentle people that lived around her. And the sorrow that Ishi must have felt, having lost his entire world and everyone related to him, is such a deep sorrow that I can never fathom it.
Jane Moore
Wonderful and interesting sotry of a young Native American from the Yana tribe of northern California. Somehow he survives the white mans invasion during the gold rush and is found and taken in by a Professor Kroeber (husband of the author)
Interesting insight into the native peoples thoughts on the natural world and how they treated it and worshiped it.
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a very sad book. Super important for everyone to read. I wish I hadn't but I am glad I will die saying that I had. Not sad like you might think...just another one of those things that happens when people make stupid, stupid decisions.
Lisa James
This is a very poignant tale, sad, but full of fun memories as well. It's the story of Ishi & his memories of his family as the West was settled, & his people were shipped off or killed off by white settlers.
Ann Holland
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must-read book. Sympathetic portrait of the last survivor of the Yahi Indians. Ishi was "found" in California in 1911 and this is primarily the story of his transition from the Stone Age to the white man's world in the 20th century. Incredibly sad.
Patrick Jackson
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is indeed a great account of the struggle between traditional Native American lifestyle and assimilation. Ishi's life is fascinating and sad at the same time. Anyone interested in the struggle of Native Americans and the destruction of cultire must read this bool!
David Saslav
Sep 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children
This is one of the first "adult" books I remember reading in its entirety as part of a Humanities class in 6th grade...I think I thought of it as fiction until my late 30s when I learned that Ishi was a real person!
I think I read this in 4th grade. Even then I found it depressing.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since first reading this book many, many years ago Ishi's story continues to haunt me. It may even be a story that effected my politics throughout my adult life.
Jeff Shaner
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ishi means man in Yahi, it wasn't his name, the Yahi never told their names to stranges... good book!
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing story...sad and disturbing, but also fascinating. An excellent read.
Sep 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographical
Definitely on my BEST books list!
Nov 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tale of Ishi, the last "wild" Indian of California. It talks about his integration into modern/anglo culture of the 1910s.
Simultaneously fascinating and unbelievably sad.
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Theodora Kracaw Kroeber Quinn was a writer and anthropologist, best known for her accounts of Ishi, the last member of the Yahi tribe of California, and for her retelling of traditional narratives from several Native Californian cultures.
More about Theodora Kroeber...