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The Wukchumni (English: /wʌkˈʌmni/) are a Yokuts tribe of California with about 200 members, residing on the Tule River Reservation. 3000 years ago, they broke off from the main Yokuts group and settled in the region of the east fork of the Kaweah River.[1]

The Wukchumni spoke traditionally a dialect of the Tule-Kaweah Yokuts language, also called Wukchumni; it survives in 2019 with only one fluent speaker.[2][3]


Approximately 3000 years ago, the Wukchumni permanently settled in the East Fork Kaweah River. During the summer they occupied villages in the Atwell Mill area as well as the floor of Mineral King Valley. For food, they gathered bulbs, berries, and acorns and hunted bear, deer, and mountain sheep.[4][5] They went to Hockett Meadow and White Chief Bowl in Sequoia National Park to hunt and trade with the neighboring Paiute people.


It was estimated before European contact the Yokut population reached 50,000, but today, there are less than 200 self-identified Wukchumni people alive. Some members of the Tule River Reservation are of Wukchumni heritage; however, majority of Wukchumni descendants are not federally recognized. One of the most famous members of today's Wukchumni society is Marie Wilcox, the author of the Wukchumni dictionary, and the last native speaker, aside from her grandson and her daughter, Jennifer Malone.


As of 2017, Marie Wilcox, born 1933, is the last native speaker of Wukchumni. In the early 2000s, she and her daughter Jennifer Malone aimed to create a Wukchumni dictionary. Today, she is making an audio dictionary with the aid of her grandson. Wilcox said that her grandparents taught her the language, but when her grandmother died, she had temporarily abandoned the Wukchumni language. When she realized that young tribal members were taking an interest in learning, she worked to make a lexical dictionary. Marie Wilcox and her daughter teach weekly classes around Tulare County.[2][6]


  1. ^ "History of the Living History Community". The Preservation of Mineral King. 18 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b ‘Who Speaks Wukchumni?’, New York Times, 19 Aug 2014.
  3. ^ "Meet the Last Speaker of a Dying Language". 2017-02-08. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  4. ^ "History of the Living History Community". mineralking.org.
  5. ^ "None". herb.umd.umich.edu.
  6. ^ "Tulare County Nüümü Yadoha Program". ovcdc.com. Retrieved September 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

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