Marie Wilcox, Who Saved Her Native Language From Extinction, has died at 87. She was well known for writing down words in her Indigenous language, ultimately produced a dictionary.
The year 2014 marks the 20 years she had been writing down her indigenous language making her successfully producing a dictionary of the language and recorded pronunciations.
She was the only person for a time who could speak the Wukchumni language fluently.
She started writing down words in Wukchumni as she remembered them in the late 1990s, scrawling on the backs of envelopes and slips of paper.
After her years of labor, of hunting and pecking on her keyboard, Ms. Wilcox, who died at 87 on Sept. 25, produced a dictionary, the first known complete compendium of Wukchumni.
Also in 2014, the filmmaker Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee made “Marie’s Dictionary”, a short documentary video about her achievement in reviving the dying language.
A short documentary, “Marie’s Dictionary,” which was made in 2014 about Ms. Wilcox, inspired her family to learn Wukchumni.
Ms. Wilcox’s dictionary was copyrighted in 2019 but has yet to be published.
She had four daughters and one son with Joe Garcia, and those four sisters married four of the Malone brothers. In addition to her daughter Jennifer Malone, Ms. Wilcox is survived by another daughter, Evelyn Malone; 10 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; and 18 great-great-grandchildren.