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8 Feb, 2014

Last known speaker of tribal Klallam language dies aged 103 – The Independent

At 103, Hazel Sampson was not only the oldest member of the Native American Klallam tribes of the Pacific North-west, but also the last known native speaker of the Klallam language. Ms Sampson, who died at a hospital in Port Angeles, Washington state, on Tuesday, was taught the Klallam tongue by her parents, and learnt English only later as a second language.

The US government, once active in its attempts to eliminate many Native American dialects, more recently made a concerted effort to rescue Klallam from extinction. The language comes from the Salish family of Native American languages, which are spoken in the US Pacific North-west and in neighbouring south-west Canada. It is spoken by four of the region’s tribes: the Beecher Bay Klallam in Canada and, in the US, the Jamestown S’Klallam, the Port Gamble S’Klallam and the Lower Elwha Klallam, the group to which Ms Sampson belonged.

Read the rest: Last known native speaker of tribal Klallam language Hazel Sampson dies aged 103 – Americas – World – The Independent.