Doris Jean Lamar-McLemore (April 16, 1927 – August 30, 2016) was an American teacher who was the last native speaker of the Wichita language,[1] a Caddoan language spoken by the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, indigenous to the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Texas.

Doris Lamar-McLemore
Doris McLemore in 2010
Doris Jean Lamar

(1927-04-16)April 16, 1927
DiedAugust 30, 2016(2016-08-30) (aged 89)
Anadarko, Oklahoma
OccupationTeacher (of Wichita language classes)
Known forLast native speaker of the Wichita language

Early life edit

McLemore was born in 1927 in Anadarko, Oklahoma.[2] Her mother was Wichita and her father was European-American.[3] McLemore was raised by her fullblood Wichita maternal grandparents, and Wichita was her first language.[4]

McLemore graduated from Riverside Indian School, an American Indian boarding school, in 1947 and worked as a house mother there for 30 years.[4] She married twice and had a son and two daughters.[4] In 1959 McLemore moved back to live near Gracemont, Oklahoma, to live among her relatives.

Preservation of the Wichita language edit

In 1962, McLemore met David Rood, a linguist from the University of Colorado, and they collaborated to preserve the Wichita language.[3]

McLemore taught language classes for the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes[5] and before her death, was collaborating with linguist David Rood to create dictionary and language CDs.[3]

"Doris is amazing for being able to retain as much as she does without having anyone to speak it to on a daily basis," said former Wichita tribal chairman, Gary McAdams.[4] She died on August 30, 2016, at the age of 89.[6]

References edit

  1. ^ "The Last Living Speaker of the Wichita Language" (Audio interview). NPR. January 30, 2008. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  2. ^ "Last fluent speaker of Wichita tribal language preserves what's left". Dallas Morning News.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b c Ruckman, S. E. (November 26, 2007). "Tribal language fading away". Tulsa World. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d Somby, Liv Inger, published USA: The Last to Speak Wichita Language. Archived April 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Gáldu. (retrieved 3 Oct 2009)
  5. ^ Wichita Language Class. Archived 2010-07-02 at the Wayback Machine Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. 18 Feb 2009 (retrieved 3 Oct 2009)
  6. ^ Poolaw, Rhiannon (August 31, 2016). "Last Wichita Speaker Passes Away". ABC News 7. KSWO. Retrieved September 1, 2016.

External links edit