I’m sorry to be so late with this—you’ve only got another day to get this week’s New Yorker—but it has a moving piece by Elizabeth Kolbert, “Last Words,” about the Eyak tribe of Alaska and the last native speaker of their language, Marie Smith Jones:
When I asked her how she felt about [being the last speaker], she said, “How would you feel if your baby died? If someone asked you, ‘What was it like to see it lying in the cradle?’ So think about that before you ask that kind of a question.”
(One interesting point about the article is that it reproduces the scientific transcription of Eyak, which has things like an x with a dot under it.)
Update. Marie Smith died on January 21, 2008.