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Theodora Kroeber, Sam Sloan, Lewis Gannett con Ishi in Two Worlds a Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America
Ishi was the last member of the Yahi, the last surviving group of the Yana people of the U.S. state of California. Ishi is believed to have been the last Native American in Northern California to have lived most of his life completely outside the European American culture. At about 49 years old, in 1911 he emerged from the wild near Oroville, California, leaving his ancestral homeland, present-day Tehama County, near the foothills of Lassen Peak. The anthropologist Alfred Kroeber gave the name to the man when he discovered Ishi had never been named. When asked his name, he said: "I have none, because there were no people to name me," meaning that no tribal naming ceremony had been performed. Ishi was taken in by anthropologists at the University of California at Berkeley, who both studied him and hired him as a research assistant. He lived most of his remaining five years in a university building in San Francisco. A question often asked is: Why was Ishi Press named after the Last Wild American Indian? The answer is: It wasn't ! It is almost a pure coincidence that Ishi Press shares a name with the last wild American Indian. The word "Ishi" means "Go Stone" in Japanese. Go Stones are used to play the Chinese and Japanese game of Go. Ishi Press was formed to publish books about the game of go. We at Ishi Press have never been able to overcome the belief that we are connected with the last wild American Indian named Ishi, so we have decided to become connected with him after all.