QuestionQuestion

1. Where did Ishi live and why was it possible for him to live there undetected?
2. Comment on the term 'wild Indian' being used--even by anthropologists in 1961.
3. Comment on the strong attachment to territory or familiar surroundings.
4. What does the multiplicity of languages in California tell us about settlement patterns in California? (that it had been settled for a long time, etc).
5. What is glottochronology?
6. The idea of California being inhabited by 'savage,' "very primitive' people barely making a subsistence living was readily adopted by whites. How did they use this idea to rationalize settlement of CA?
7. Why did CA tribes wear simpler clothing than in other parts of the country?
8. What was the "world view' of the CA tribes?
9. Why does the Yana language have separate dialects for men and women
10. What are some of the attitudes of the whites in the book towards Indians?
11. Why was Ishi reluctant to give his name?
12. Comment on the carnies who wanted to exploit Ishi and other Indians.
13. What was Ishi's feelings about crowds?
14. What was the conflict between Ishi and Sam Batwi?
15. Comment on the whites' "playing Indian' on a summer trip.
16. Comment on Ishi's quiet dignity--choosing parts of white society that he wanted and rejecting others.
17. Could Ishi have "gone home again?'
18 What mountain dominates Ishi's world?
19. Where does Ishi live when he goes to the Bay Area?

Readings: ISHI in two worlds, by Theodora Kroeber

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1. Where did Ishi live and why was it possible for him to live there undetected?
He lived primarily at Deer Creek . The California Indians enjoyed a traditional separatist and static arrangement of life. The raid on their tribes and tribelets (pressure from the whites) saw them retreating further upwards to areas that were inaccessible to “stock and men on horsebacks”. Their genocide saw years of retreat and concealment since the alternative would have been submission to the Whites, loss of identity and certain loss of life. He was able to remain undetected because of the invisibility and improbability of the village which remained concealed and camouflaged by the foliage. The structure of the houses- parallel to the creek, provided access to the creek and its contents (water and fish) while connected by trails strategically forged.


2. Comment on the term “wild Indian’ being used—even by anthropologists in 1961?

The term ‘wild man’ struck the human sensibilities with its crudity and its inappropriateness as opposed to a phrase such as the “Indian of Deer Creek”.
The term connotes the white’s reaction to a single survivor of a race that was believed to be extinct. Ishi represented and was in fact the literal last of a tribe that maintained a separatist lifestyle. The Yahi Indians, represented the wildest of the Indian tribes because of their lifestyle (raids, their preference of living in parts of the hills that others didn’t find welcoming, attractive or habitable) as well as his usage of language that other tribes were totally unable to understand. The fact that Ishi, emerged into 20th century civilization for the first time at fifty years meant that his development thus far was regarded as “uncivilized’ and subpar....

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