Chickasaw

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11:11 am
Wed January 8, 2014

What Happens When A Language's Last Monolingual Speaker Dies?

A portrait of Emily Johnson Dickerson by artist Mike Larsen.
Courtesy of the Chickasaw Nation

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 2:47 pm

Emily Johnson Dickerson died at her home in Ada, Okla., last week. She was the last person alive who spoke only the Chickasaw language.

"This is a sad day for all Chickasaw people because we have lost a cherished member of our Chickasaw family and an unequaled source of knowledge about our language and culture," Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said in a news release. The Chickasaw Nation has about 55,000 members and is based in the southern part of central Oklahoma.

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