When The Last Wild Man Appeared In California
The Yana are a group of Native Americans indigenous to California; they are divided into four groups including the Yahi, the southernmost group. The Yahi lived in the Sierra Nevadas and, unfortunately, their lands were the closest to the gold fields, and with the California Gold Rush, they had to fight with the settlers for their territory. They also suffered the loss of their food supplies as they were hunter-gatherers and the gold rush killed fish, damaged water supplies, and caused the deer to leave the area. Not only did they bring smallpox and measles, they further decimated the Indians as they committed genocide during raids. Two raids in 1865 led by Robert Anderson, an Indian hunter, killed 70. Since the Yahis were already suffering from starvation, their population was reduced to less than 100. On August 6, 1866, Settlers raided a Yahi village, and the same year, the Yahis were massacred in a ravine. The next year, they were tracked to a cave and 33 were killed. Around 1871, four cowboys killed 30 Yahis in Kingsley cave. After this, their tribe, which had numbered 404 prior to the California Gold Rush, was presumed to be extinct.
During the Three Knolls Massacre in 1865, 40 Yahis were killed. Thirty-three escaped, but about half of them were killed by cattlemen. Ishi and his family were among the few remaining survivors, and they went into hiding for the next 44 years.