Ishi, last Yahi Indian, topic of Thursday talk



Ishi, the last member of the Yahi tribe who showed up in a Northern California town in 1911, will be the topic of a free 7 p.m. lecture Thursday at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Visitor Center.

Dennis Torresdal will present “Ishi, His Time, Place, Tools and Interactions” at the visitor center, 1501 Evergreen Blvd..

Ishi walked up to the outskirts of Oroville, Calif., in 1911 after the deaths of the last members of his family. Expecting to be killed by the townspeople, Ishi became a celebrity.

Torresdal will tell how Ishi hunted with bow and arrows, fished with a spear and gathered edible plants while trying to avoid being detected by ranchers, loggers and prospectors.

U.S. troops based at Vancouver Barracks were responsible for an area that ranged from Alaska to Northern California, including the tribe’s home.

Torresdal, a volunteer at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, is president of the Oregon Archeological Society. He has studied and practiced primitive technology skills.

The talk will include images of tribal artifacts and tools that Ishi made and used while living at the University of California’s Museum of Anthropology in Berkeley.