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)


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)