A student in my poetry class says her history professor doesn’t believe
Ishi's people were killed for 25 cents a scalp then five dollars a head
and such acts in 1851 and 1852 were authorized by The California Legislature,
reimbursed by the federal government, and celebrated by cattle ranchers.
I tell her there is no denying California spent over a million dollars killing Indians
whose descendants fight poverty with casinos.
I tell her the call number of Ishi, the Last Yahi on the 4th Floor
in our San Diego Mesa College Library is VT 968, and booths are there to view it.
Later, I recall how the faculty parking lot overlooks Tecolote Canyon,
named after owls that, like the Ishi video, are mostly unseen but still here.
Scott T. Starbuck’s latest chapbook, The Other History, or Unreported and Underreported Issues, Scenes, and Events of the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries is forthcoming in Winter 2013 from FutureCycle Press. His anti-nuclear clay-poem “Napali” appeared in the Oregon chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Particles on the Wall Exhibit (May and June 2013) about the “lasting impacts of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and the nuclear age." Starbuck was a 2013 Artsmith Fellow on Orcas Island. For more, visit Scott here.