Last Fluent Speaker Of Wichita Tribal Language Dies

Sep 1, 2016

The last remaining person who could fluently speak the language of the Wichita people, the Native American tribe for which the city of Wichita is named, has died.

Doris Jean Lamar-McLemore died on Tuesday, Aug. 30, in Anadarko, Oklahoma. She was 89 years old.

Lamar-McLemore worked with a linguist to help record as much of the Wichita language as possible in an effort to preserve it for generations to come. She learned the language from her maternal grandparents, who were both Wichita.

In this clip from a video shared by the Wichita Eagle, she says, in Wichita, "I would like for the children to know how the Wichita language sounded."

"I'll be gone, and they can still hear my voice," she says.

Lamar-McLemore did an interview with NPR in 2008. You can listen to it here.

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