Video: Last Native Speaker Records Wukchumni Language

If your language was on the brink of extinction, what would you do? The last speaker of Wukchumni created a makeshift dictionary out of scraps of paper.

Marie's Dictionary from Go Project Films on Vimeo.

If your language was on the brink of extinction, what would you do? As the last speaker of the Wukchumni language, Marie Wilcox began remembering the native tongue she had abandoned after the death of her grandmother. As the words came back to her one at a time, she scribbled them on envelopes, pieces of paper—whatever she could find in order to preserve the language.

When I had all these words together, I thought it would be a good idea to try to make a dictionary.

In the video created by Go Project Films, a part of the Global Oneness Project that aims to create awareness on cultural and environmental issues, Wilcox teaches her family the language of their ancestors. The words that accumulated over seven years came together to create the only dictionary of the Wukchumni language.