It is sad to know a language has gone extinct and with it all of the cultural beliefs and thought processes and problem solving methods and artistic talent and world views that are unique to the speakers of that language. How lonely Ms. Jones must have felt, not being able to communicate with others in the tongue that she knew best. Some things are just not translatable because they are a concept wholly within the language and not without. This language died in a large part due to the suppression by American authorities of native languages. Ms. Jones was beaten for speaking her language as a child.
I'd like to quote for you what is means for a language to be living (from the Language Log):
there must be little kids who speak the language with each other because it is their only language or else their favorite. Little kids who would speak it even if they were told not to… Ask around the village and find the age of the youngest people using a language every day for all their normal conversational interaction. If the answer is a number larger than 5, the language is probably dying. If the answer is a number larger than 10, it is very probably doomed. If the answer is a number larger than 20, you can kiss it goodbye right now…
Today I hold a candle in my heart for this remarkable woman, Ms. Marie Smith Jones. I hope that Alaskan people pay attention to her passing and to the lessons she has taught us, because unless we act now this will be just the first of many languages that are unique to Alaska to disappear. Hearteningly, the BBC reports, that Nunavut, Canada leads the way in making both Inuktitut and Inuit content management for websites. This means that people can write documents and even pay bills in these native languages through aativk.ca. I truly believe that making modern communications available in these languages will make it more likely for youngsters to use them and for their continuation into the future.