Media Advisory: Sept. 7 conference to honor Ishi’s contributions a century ago


A Century of Ishi: A One-Day Conference Celebrating 100 years of Ishi,” organized by the University of California, Berkeley’s Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center.

Ishi is believed to have been the last surviving member of his Yahi tribe when he was encountered in the Sierra foothills near Oroville by UC Berkeley anthropologist Alfred Kroeber in 1911. Kroeber brought Ishi with him to the (now) Hearst Museum, where Ishi shared his language and culture with others until he died in 1916.


9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept.


UC Berkeley’s Clark Kerr Campus, in the Krutch Theater, 2601 Warring Ave. A map is online.


After a traditional Native American blessing, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau will deliver opening remarks.

The keynote address will be by Karen Biestman, a lecturer in ethnic studies at UC Berkeley who specializes in federal Indian law and who is co-chair of UC Berkeley’s Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, as well as vice president of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center in Santa Rosa.

Participants in the roundtable and plenary sessions will include:

  • Hearst Museum Director Mari Lynn Salvador
  • Joseph A. Myers, a founder and board member of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center
  • Representatives of Native American cultural and educational organizations
  • UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz anthropologists, linguists and oral historians


The conference will honor Ishi’s contributions as an educator and cultural ambassador, while considering new, contemporary interpretations of his legacy and the Native American experience within museums, and updating the general understanding about Ishi.

The program will take place 100 years to the day after Ishi recorded the story of the wood duck, a figure from Yahi folklore.

The event also will screen a portion of an Ishi documentary created and produced by the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center.


The conference is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, and registration is required. Registration will close on Aug. 31. To see if space is still available, check the conference website