Post by Diane Merkel on Jun 8, 2008 23:24:17 GMT -5
This is an excellent article about the pending death of the Wichita and Arapaho languages. Lakota has a better chance of surviving.
The Wichita language, once spoken by thousands, has one remaining voice.
Doris Jean Lamar McLemore, 80, considers it a happenstance that she — the daughter of an Indian mother and white father — has become the guardian of her tribe’s language that is precariously close to extinction.
“Ever since I’ve had a memory, I could speak Wichita,” said McLemore, who was raised by her grandparents. “I never expected to be the last one, though. I can remember when everyone spoke Wichita, and in our home, we didn’t speak English.”
In 1965, McLemore was among 200 in Anadarko, Okla., who had a fluent command of the language. David Rood, then a graduate student, came to the small southwestern Oklahoma city — the “Indian Capital of the Nation” — as an outsider, taking handwritten notes and using reel-to-reel tape recorders to begin archiving Wichita words. The complex language showed stark warning signs that it was headed toward endangerment.