Marie Smith Jones 1918 - 2008
She was the last known speaker of Eyak. Which was a language spoken near the mouth of the copper river in Alaska. It has now become a symbol in the fight against language death. It is the first known native Alaskan language to become extinct.
When Marie Smith Jones died early in 2008 she received obituaries from respected sources all around the world, perhaps indicating that language death in not just an interest of a few linguists. Smith, the last full-blooded Eyak, only really became politically active after the death of her sister in the 1990s, which made her the last speaker of their language. She had declined to teach her children the language because of the social stigma attached to it. However in her later years, she helped work on an Eyak dictionary, became active in environmental concerns, and twice spoke at United Nations on peace and indigenous languages. (Source)