Last Known Native Speaker Of Klallam Dies

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The last known native speaker of the Klallam language has died in Port Angeles, Washington. Klallam is the language of three U.S. tribes as well as one in British Columbia. Hazel M. Sampson was 103.


That ad from Coke is a reminder of just how many languages are spoken in our country. With that in mind, a bit of sad news this week: Hazel Sampson, the last known native speaker of the Klallam language, died in Port Angeles in Washington State on Tuesday. She was 103 years old. The Klallam language was one of many Native American languages the U.S. government tried to eliminate, and then later tried to preserve. The chairman of Hazel Sampson's tribe says her death marks the end of an era. There are an estimated 3,000 members of the Klallam tribe in the United States - most live in Washington State. And while the only known native speaker of the Klallam language has died, the language itself has not. It's being taught as a second language in some schools in the state.

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