PORT ANGELES, Wash. - Family and tribal members say the last person to have spoken the Klallam language from birth and the eldest member among Klallam tribes, Hazel M. Sampson, died Tuesday in Port Angeles at the age of 103.
Lower Elwha Klallam tribal member Jamie Valadez who teaches the Klallam language and culture at Port Angeles High School told The Peninsula Daily News Sampson was the last person who learned Klallam first, then learned English as a second language.
Valadez and Texas linguist Timothy Montler worked with Sampson and her husband Ed and other native speakers in the 1990s to compile a Klallam dictionary.
Klallam is the language of three U.S. tribes: the Lower Elwha, Jamestown S'Klallam and Port Gamble S'Klallam, as well as the Beecher Bay Klallam in British Columbia.
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