Doris McLemore, American teacher, Died at 89

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Doris Jean Lamar-McLemore was born on April 16, 1927, and died on August 30, 2016.

She was the last fluent speaker of the Wichita language, a Caddoan language spoken by the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, indigenous to the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Texas.

Doris’s mother was Wichita and her father was European-American.

She was raised by her full blood Wichita maternal grandparents, and Wichita was her first language.

Doris McLemore graduated from Riverside Indian School, an American Indian boarding school, in 1947 and worked as a house mother there for 30 years.

Doris McLemore married twice and had a son and two daughters.

During 1959 McLemore relocate back to live near Gracemont, Oklahoma, to live among her relatives.

During 1962, McLemore met David Rood, a linguist from the University of Colorado, and they collaborated to preserve the Wichita language.

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

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

Doris McLemore passed away at 89 years old.