Doris McLemore
Doris Jean Lamar McLemore (born April 16, 1927) is the last fluent speaker of the Wichita language
Wichita language
Wichita is a moribund Caddoan language spoken in Oklahoma by the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. Only one fluent speaker remains, Doris McLemore, although in 2007 there were only three first language learners still alive...

, a Caddoan language
Caddoan languages
The Caddoan languages are a family of Native American languages. They are spoken by Native Americans in parts of the Great Plains of the central United States, from North Dakota south to Oklahoma.-Family division:...

 spoken by the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, indigenous to Oklahoma.

McLemore was born in 1927 in Anadarko, Oklahoma
Anadarko, Oklahoma
Anadarko is a city in Caddo County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 6,645 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Caddo County.-Early History:Anadarko got its name when its post office was established in 1873...

. Her mother was Wichita and her father was European-American. McLemore was raised by her fullblood Wichita maternal grandparents, and Wichita was her first language.

McLemore graduated from Indian boarding school in 1947 and spent 30 years working as house mother there. She married twice and had a son and two daughters. In 1959 McLemore moved back to live near Gracemont, Oklahoma
Gracemont, Oklahoma
Gracemont is a town in Caddo County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 336 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Gracemont is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , all of it land....

 to live among her relatives. In 1962, McLemore met David Rood, a linguist from the University of Colorado
University of Colorado at Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado...

, and they have collaborated to preserve the Wichita language ever since then.

McLemore teaches language classes for the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes and is collaborating with linguist David Rood to create a dictionary and language CDs.

“Doris is amazing for being able to retain as much as she does without having anyone to speak it to on a daily basis," says former Wichita tribal chairman, Gary McAdams.

External links

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