Event: Pizza Talk: "Archaeology, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island"

Date & Time

February 15, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Contact Information

Matthew Swanson


Fowler A222

Event Type

Pizza Talk

Event Details

Speaker: Dr. René Vellanoweth, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, California State University, Los Angeles

In 1835, as part of broader efforts to missionize California Indians, the native people of San Nicolas Island were removed and sent to live on the mainland. This essentially marked the end of a 10,000-year history of native occupation and sealed the fate of all Nicoleño on the island except for one person who lived alone for 18 years. Known as the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, baptized and named Juana Maria upon her death, and made famous as the young heroine, Karana, in Scott O’Dell’s (1960) classic children’s novel, “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” her story has captured the imaginations of people the world over. But who was Juana Maria? What happen to her family members on the fateful day in 1835? What did she do for 18 years alone on the island? How did she survive physically as well as psychologically? In this presentation I will attempt to answer some of these questions by placing the Lone Woman’s story within its archaeological and historical contexts.