Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/242

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238

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The existence of "wild" Indians in this part of the world was known, or at least believed in, in many quarters, in spite of definite information. Thus Stephen Powers in his classical "Tribes of California" PSM V86 D242 Ishi the last of the yahi tribe.jpgIshi, the Last of the Yahi. From a photograph taken after his capture at Oroville, California in 1911. He is wearing a "slaughter-house apron" put on him before he was taken to town. His hair he had burned off with a firebrand, as a sign of mourning, throwing on water with his hands to keep from burning his scalp. The remaining photographs in this article were taken recently, after his appearance was much changed. (U. S. Department of the Interior, Contributions to North American Ethnology, Vol. 3) says, without giving names, that five of this tribe, two men, two women, and a boy, were seen in 1870. This group gave from time to time further proof of their existence by their habit of secretly taking food from distant and lonely mountain cabins. It is a settled fact, that this fugitive remnant of a tribe did fairly well with their primitive mode of life, except in the late winter and early spring. By that time their stores were usually exhausted and the salmon had not yet begun to run in the streams. Their fear of the whites forbade any change of home or habitation in search of food. The only course possible, aside from quiet starvation, was to seek out some white man's cabin somewhere in the hills, help themselves to food as quickly as possible, and carry it back to their lurking places. This they seem to have done on several occasions almost every year. To this we probably owe the fact that the group managed to remain alive. This robbing of cabins could not, of course, pass unnoticed. Such cabins as exist in these hills are mere temporary shelters, utilized by wandering hunters and stockmen. Any passer-by, according to the custom of the country, is at liberty to invite himself into a cabin if he happens to find one that is in use at all, and is supposed to give himself full rights and privileges, including the use of all solids and liquids. This is a sort of informal hospitality which prevails universally. The Indians, when compelled to risk dis-