Fluent Arikara speaker Maude Starr passes on

White Shield, North Dakota (AP) Jan. 2010

The Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota says one of the remaining few elders who could teach the Arikara language has died.

Maude Starr, whose American Indian name meant Yellow Calf Woman, died Jan. 20 at the age of 71. Her funeral was held in the Fort Berthold Reservation community of White Shield.

Starr held a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of North Dakota. The tribe, which has members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, says she was one of only a handful of educators with the skills to teach the Sahnish, or Arikara, language.

Starr taught the language and culture to young people through school programs.