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Last monolingual Chickasaw speaker dies in Oklahoma

Published: January 3, 2014

ADA (AP) — The last remaining monolingual speaker of the Chickasaw language has died in Oklahoma.

The Chickasaw Nation says Emily Johnson Dickerson died at her Ada home on Monday. She was 93.

Dickerson spoke only the Chickasaw language her entire life, and she was the last monolingual speaker of the Chickasaw language.

She was one of only an estimated 70 fluent speakers of the Chickasaw language.

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby called Dickerson a “treasured elder” who held the Chickasaw language and ways close to her heart. He says her death is sad for all tribal members because of her unequaled source of knowledge about the Chickasaw language and culture.

Funeral services will be Saturday. Burial will be at the Steedman Cemetery.