Ishi, the Last Yahi
documents the life of the last surviving member of the Yahi tribe. Following massacres of Native Americans in California in the 1860s and 1870s, Ishi and a small band of his tribesmen chose to continue their traditional way of life in hiding. Forty years later, and after the death of all of his comrades, in 1911 Ishi emerged from the wilderness - alone and starving, Ishi entered the white man's world.
Labeled "the last wild Indian" and "the last Stone Age Man in North America" by newspapers, Ishi was viewed as little more than a curiosity by most. Anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, however, saw this as the opportunity of a lifetime. For the next four, and final, years of Ishi's life he lived at the Museum of Anthropology in San Francisco where he demonstrated his traditional way of life, related Yahi stories, myths and songs to Kroeber.
Narrated by Oscar-winning actress Linda Hunt, this 57-minute documentary chronicles the traditional Yahi way of life, as told by Ishi and meticulously recorded by Kroeber. Written by Anne Makepeace, produced and directed by Jed Riffe and Pamela Roberts, Ishi is a unique window into the way of life practiced by Native Americans before their culture was impacted by European settlers.
Approximately 57 minutes.
- "Best of Festival," National Educational Film Festival
- Gold Hugo Award, Chicago International Film Festival
- "Best Documentary Short Film," American Indian Film Festival
- Audience Choice, "Best Film," Munich (Germany) Film Festival
- Margaret Mead Film Festival honoree
- Society for Visual Anthropology honoree
- Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Paris, honoree