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Sadly observed: “Last Alaska language speaker dies” January 24, 2008

Posted by William Spear in >> Dramatic Radio, >> News, >> Out Basket.

BBC News reported the passing of Marie Smith Jones, age of 89, believed to be the last native speaker of the Eyak language in Alaska ( BBC NEWS; 24 January 2008; http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/7206411.stm ).

Along with her accomplishments in conservation and securing indigenous rights, she worked with the University of Alaska to compile an Eyak dictionary for future generations.

This publication offers condolences to Ms. Jones’ family over its loss. We also offer respect for her body of work.

We ask sorrowfully, and perhaps too late, a few questions: How does a culture survive when no one speaks its language?

How does any culture’s great and tragic moments speak to its next generation when its language has died?

How does any culture imbue its neighbors with its brilliance if the culture has no voice?

All voices matter. All voices count. When one is gone, all are lessened.

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