Friday, March 25, 2016

Centennial of the death of Ishi, the last of the Yahi indians

A hundred years ago, on March 25, 1916, Ishi died in San Francisco. He was the last of the Yahis of California, exterminated over a period of a few decades, starting with the great "gold rush" of mid 19th century.

The story of the Yahis, as well as of many other Indians of California, is still actual: it is the story of how the search for mineral resources leaves behind a trail of death and destruction. In Ishi's times, it was because of gold; in our times, it is because of crude oil and other minerals that we consider even more important than gold. Human attitudes don't seem to change so much in these things and will probably remain unchanged as long as there remains something to be extracted on this planet.

A few years ago, I wrote a brief story of Ishi for my daughter Donata (in Italian, here)


  1. Ugo, same story happened to the Fuegians of Tierra del Fuego. You can find some pictures of them here:

    Charles Darwin, in his voyage on the Beagle, was probably one of the last Europeans who could witness the Fuegians still in their natural context. I collected his descriptions here:

    I wonder, how does someone feel to be that last one of his own people?

  2. Such fate will await those who are left of the Bell Curve.



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome and the author of "Extracted: how the quest for mineral resources is plundering the Planet" (Chelsea Green 2014)