Last fluent speaker of Eyak language dies

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Chief Marie Smith Jones, the last full-blooded Eyak and the last person fluent in her Native language, has died.

Jones died peacefully Monday at her home in Anchorage. She was 89.

Jones was born in Cordova on May 14, 1918, and grew up on Eyak Lake, where her family had a homestead.

She married William F. Smith on May 5, 1948. Smith worked his way up the coast fishing and when he reached Cordova, he met Marie and put down roots.

The couple had seven children. Marie moved to Anchorage in the early 1970s to be closer to her children.

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