“Chief Marie Smith Jones, the last full-blooded Eyak and last Native speaker of the Eyak language, died Monday….”
Some related thoughts:
Is the passing of a language the passing of a people? That is, how are we to think about the surviving Eyaks? Does it matter that none of the surviving Eyaks (apparently) are full-blooded?
What relationship (if any) does a language have to the “bloodedness” of its speakers?
Do different languages encode differing and characteristic modes of perception? For example, does a Japanese-only speaker perceive things that I, who don’t speak Japanese, cannot perceive?
Can characteristic Eyaki modes of perception be restored if surviving Eyaks—or anyone, for that matter—could somehow manage to relearn the Eyak language?
Assuming that the Eyak language is gone forever, what exactly has been lost? Does the loss really matter? If it does, in what way does it matter?
Is the passing of the Eyak language more or less important than the passing of Marie Smith Jones?