Ishi was more involved with the community--playing with local children, dating, etc.
What stunned Ishi most was crowds--he had never seen more than about 60 people together in his life.
Dr. Pope was one of Ishi's main advocates/friends & not weird & insensitive.
Kroeber was able to go on sabbatical in Europe [not work at a NY museum] b/c Sapir was working with Ishi.
As Laurence A. Marschall put it:
I believe the newspapers had to call Ishi primitive in order to rationalize what the white man did to the Indians. Rationalization is a psychological defense to justify one's doing terrible things. The process is unconscious (Lindgren and Byrne: 242). Once it becomes conscious, it no longer works.
As Nancy Rockafellar writes:
Usually I complain about Native-themed movies overemphasizing the most sensational points. But The Last of His Tribe seems to have underemphasized these points. For instance, the age change makes Kroeber a father figure, so his paternalism seems more natural than forced. The lack of scientists studying him or crowds watching him makes Ishi seem less exploited than he actually was.
Hmm. Maybe the filmmakers deemphasized the exploitation issue because their primary source, the The Last of His Tribe book, did likewise. Maybe they did it because it made the story feel too predictable. It's difficult to say.
Incidentally, I believe Jon Voight is interested in Indian issues. He attended the FAITA awards ceremony once, and his wife--Angelina Jolie's mother--was part Indian. Maybe they rewrote Kroeber's part, made him older, to attract Voight.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.