Some months ago, we’d written about a little shrine to Ishi, the last of the Yahi tribe, in a small cave along a trail in the beautiful Sutro Cloud Forest. There’d been a little picture of him, and some offerings — scented things, leaves, and a quarter with a tree on it. Then someone removed it.
Recently, walking in the forest, we found the shrine renewed. There was no photograph of Ishi, this time, but a pleasing frieze of ten-cent coins gleamed from its inner wall, and tiny cairns of rocks had been built within the cave, and on its roof.
Hmm, that’s a puzzle. Is there a connection between Ishi and the Sutro Forest? I thought he spent most of his time in the Bay Area in the East Bay, closer to Berkeley. Those were the pre-Bay Bridge days so I can’t think that it was easy to cross the bay around the 1910s. Even the vegetation where he grew up around Lassen was very far removed from the Sutro Forest. However the intention is touching. Ishi deserves at least that and more – time we thought about a proper museum to the last “wild Indian” of California.
I read that he lived at UCSF’s campus (which then housed UC Berkeley’s Museum of Anthropology), while being studied by UC researchers. It’s said that he wandered through Sutro Forest and spent time there. The shrine used to have his picture in it. (You can see the earlier post here.)
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