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The Ishi Story

This story is about a man who was the last man surviving his native community of Yahi.  The whites found Yishi in Oroville, California in 1911. This man had lived in the wild on his own oblivious of the new American culture that surrounded him.  Yishi initially had no name and the anthropologists who found him gave him the name Yishi. When asked his name, Yishi said that he did not need a name because he had no one to name him. In his community, one had to be named through a naming ceremony. Yishi's lack of name signified that the community was no longer in existence and that he was the only one left.

Yishi's parents gave birth to him at around 1860.  Settlers were later to attack Yishi's community during the Three Knolls Massacre, where most of his tribesmen got killed. A few of them managed to survive but did not last for long before the settlers later attacked them (Kroeber  and Kroeber 2002, p 34). Yishi and his family though were able to go into hiding where they remained in hiding for over forty years. During this time, the Yahi had already been ruled as extinct.

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Surveyors later attacked Yishi's family camp and stole their belongings. Fortunately Yishi was able to escape. When he returned he found that his family members had already died. Yishi continued to live in the wild alone for about three years. When he could no longer survive due to lack of food he emerged from the wilderness into the white man's world. Curious onlookers received Yishi from the wild they had never seen a native man before.

Police officials took him into custody so as to protect him. The University of California, took him in, where he was a research assistant for the next five years till his death. Yishi was able to share with anthropologists about the set up of the Yahi community and how it operated before his death. The details that Yishi shared have helped uncover historical information about the Yahi community.  Steven Shackley a professor at Berkeley University later released information that Yishi might not have belonged to the Yahi community entirely; he may have had, other ancestral origins.

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The story of plenty horses

Plenty Horses was a Native American who belonged to the Lakota family.  Plenty Horses shot a white soldier in the Wounded Knee massacre of 1891. Plenty horses said that he shot the man so that he could be accepted back as an Indian. This happened because he had gone off to study at an Indian school. In this school, the teachers taught them in the white man language and   the white man's ways.

Upon returning to the Indian community, Plenty Horses got disowned by the community because he had gone to school. They saw him as of the white man's culture. Plenty Horses says that he was no longer an Indian, nor was he a white man. This led him to feel lonely because he felt that he had no one on his side. Plenty Horses says that when he shot the white soldier he was buying his way back into the Indian community. He felt that he would rather be hanged, but in the Indians eyes, he would die as a warrior.

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White lawyers defended Plenty Horses in court against the white soldier. The lawyers fought for Plenty Horses to rescue him from hanging. They argued that there was an existence of a war between the Indian nation and the United States. If this were the case, then Plenty Horses could not be charged with murder, when the other soldiers were free (Marty, 2010, p 97).  The introduction of a key witness -Captain Frank Baldwin in the case supported the lawyers' arguments. He confirmed that there was indeed a war between the Lakota family and the United States and that the victim died as a soldier. This exonerated Plenty Horses from the murder charges.

American Indian genocide

The issue of genocide in America is not a particularly popular topic especially in today's democratic nation. However, the facts are undeniable because the reduction in the numbers of Native Americans was significant to the extent of extinction. The Europeans must have found large numbers of Native Americans, but the numbers are not accurately approximated. The records may have underestimated the number so as to reduce the magnitude of the matter.

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Indian removal from native America began as early as in the early nineteenth century. This was so as to create land for the white settlers. The Europeans even established An Indian removal policy, where they devised means to eliminate the Native Americans. The methods of removing the Indians included massacres that left almost all Indians in a community slaughtered. There was even an introduction of diseases such as smallpox in their settlements so as to eliminate them (Johnston, 1996, p 3). There were times when the Europeans forced these Indians to march out of their settlements. An example of destruction was the Cherokee march which led to their destruction.

The destruction of the Indians even extended to destroying their livelihood. The Europeans destroyed their surroundings so that they could find it difficult to survive. The most significant of their destruction was the extinction of the buffalo. The animal was the livelihood of the Indians. The population of the buffalo significantly reduced from millions to extinction, which led to starvation of the Indians who ended up dying.  The term Genocide later got introduced at around the time of World War II, but what people do not realize is that there were other worst destruction of human beings in the earlier times.

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