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Last Monolingual Chickasaw Speaker Dies

The New Year brought sad news for the Chickasaw Nation of Native Americans. On December 30, 2013 they lost Emily Dickerson, the last monolingual speaker of the Chickasaw language. She was at least 93 years old.

The Chickasaw once lived in the Southeastern United States, in what is now Mississippi, though the United States government forced them to relocate to Oklahoma in the 19th century. Their language, Chickashshanonmpa, is hurtling toward extinction. According to Sky News, there were around 1,000 people speaking in 1994. Now, 20 years later, that number has dwindled to less than 70, most of them elderly.  Read more