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Saving Wukchumni

Sep 22, 2014 | 831 videos
Video by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

Filmmaker Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee profiles Marie Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of an extremely rare Native American language. The Wukchumni tribe is estimated to have fewer than 200 remaining members, which likely means that Wilcox is the last hope for any meaningful survival of its spoken heritage. The 80-year-old woman has spent more than seven years creating a dictionary of the Wukchumni language—and teaches weekly classes with her daughter—but unfortunately, few seem devoted to learn. 

Vaughan-Lee's previous work includes documentaries about a vanishing town in Louisiana, an ex-convict's mission to bring meditation to prisons, and salmon fishermen along the Yukon delta.

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Author: Chris Heller

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A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.