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December 22, 2002

Oldest tribal member and last fully fluent in the Makah language dies

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KEYWORDS: Makah language oldest Makah tribal member obituary basketweaver Makah history tribal elder Ruth E. Claplanhoo

AUTHOR: Brenda Hanrahan

NEAH BAY —
Friends and family of Makah tribal elder Ruth E. Claplanhoo say a piece of Makah history has been lost with her death — and can never be replaced.

Mrs. Claplanhoo, the oldest Makah tribal member and a lifelong resident of Neah Bay, died at her home Monday, August 21, 2002, at age 100.
Mrs. Claplanhoo suffered a heart attack in June which family members said weakened her physically, but not mentally.

“Ruth was a very wonderful and valuable community member,” said Janine Bowechop, Makah Cultural and Research Center executive director.

“She was incredibly generous and willing to teach Makah values to members of the Makah tribe.”

Bowechop said Mrs. Claplanhoo was the last of the tribal members fully fluent in the Makah language and a highly decorated basket weaver.


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