::The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island::

What can you tell me about the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island and her tribe?

Rescue of the Lone Woman The Island of San Nicolas was home to a people who spoke a language in the Uto-Aztecan Linguistic Family. This family of languages was widespread in California, the Great Basin, the American Southwest and down into Central Mexico. The Indians of San Nicolas were not related to the Chumash of the Northern Channel Islands, but they traded with them.

The last Indians on San Nicolas Island were removed in the mid 1830s, except for the Lone Woman. She was discovered about 1853 and was taken to Santa Barbara. The Chumash Indians there could not understand her language. She died within a few weeks from dysentery. She was given the Spanish name, Juana Maria, by one of the priests at Santa Barbara Mission. There are several books and historical articles that describe what is factually known about the Lone Woman. The book, Original Accounts of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, edited by Robert Heizer and Albert Elsasser, may be available through a College or University Library in your area.

Toki Toki: The Lone Woman's Song.

Listen to a song about the Lone Woman Listen to Toki Toki, a song about the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, recorded on wax cylinder by J.P. Harrington in 1913 and sung by Fernando Librado.

Toki Toki yahamimena (repeat 3 times)
weleshkima nishuyahamimena (repeat 2 times)
Toki Toki...(continue as above)

"I live contented because I can see the day when I want to get out of this island".

Knowledge of this song came from three Chumash men. Fernando Librado Kitsepawit (1839-1915) learned this song from Malquiares, who had actually heard the Lone Woman herself sing it. Later on, Librado recited the words to Aravio Talawiyashwit, who provided the translation. The anthropologist John P. Harrington recorded the song and its translation during his interviews with Librado. Although the exact meaning is unclear, it is believed that the Lone Woman sang this song to express mixed feelings: of sadness at leaving the familiar and of joy at having human company after a lapse of 18 years.

More information about the Lone Woman

References Regarding the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island

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This Tishle' blade is the only surviving example of a Chumash tomol paddle. The paddle was collected during Vancouver's visit to the Santa Barbara area in 1793 and presently resides in the British Museum collection.

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