interest in ishi

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Posted by raven on April 11, 1999 at 20:00:08:

i thought you all might be interested in this article from INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:
fyi: the same article was published in NEWS FROM INDIAN COUNTRY:

by brenda norell
and ap staff reports

March 18, 1999

SAN FANSICO-Ishi, the last of the Yahi Indians who walked out of the wilderness and into Oroville in 1911, will be given a final burial, following the discovery of his last remains.
In opposition to his final request, Ishi was cremated after his brain was removed during an autpsy following his death in 1916. The location of his brain was a mystery until a University of California at San Fransisco investgation led the Smithsonian Institution to reveal that it was stored with skeletons in the National Museum of Natural History.
Besided the offensive secrecy involved, the removal of Ishi's brain reveals another dark shadow of racism in America's history-when brains
were studied in relation to intelligence and race.
"It was not uncommon to study brains in the early 20th century", Duke University anthropologist Orin Starns said. " I think Ishi is important as a symbol of what happened to Indigenious people during the white takeover and conquest. He really was a victim of a holocaust that few Americans recognize."
The sad and disturbing chapter in the history of the life of Ishi, researchers discovered that Ishi's brain was removed at the time of autopsy at the university for scientific evaluation. It has been stored for 83 years by the Smithsonian Institution.
The current investigation was conducted by Nancy Rockefellar, a research historian in the university's History of Health Science.
"What was unique about Ishi's autopsy was the removal of the brain",
Rockafellar's report states, "none of the other reports from 1914-16 involved removal of the brain."
The cremated remains currently rest in an urn in Colma, CA. Plans are underway for a proper burial will hopefully take place in Ishi's homeland at Mount Lassen.
Ishi's brain was removed and subsequently sent to the university by museum curator and "friend" Alfred Kroeber in 1917.
Rockafellar says this reveals a disturbing compromise: the inconsistency of cremating Ishi's remains with some of this belongings without the brain, in the very face of their knowledge of his beliefs, reveals an odd compromise of the scientists who cared for Ishi) Pope, Gifford, Waterman, and Kroeber between science and sentiment.

I can barely type this much less have to take this into myself. i am very respectful of how Ishi has captured so many hearts after all this time. he truly is the epitomy of humanity. i would ask that you all pray for him to be laid to rest in the place of his ancestors and to make a promise, that our Native beloved ones will no longer be "studied" as freaks of nature. please ask that our mothers and their children may came home to be buried with honor and respect.


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