Native American linguist
, tribal elder
, and storyteller
, born 1918.
She has devoted much of her life to the study, promotion and preservation of her childhood language and culture of her people the Lushootseed, indigenous to the Puget Sound area of Washington State.
Hilbert worked as a hairdresser, welder, and sandwich cart operator before turning to academia in the 1960s. From 1972 to 1987, she taught at the University of Washington, teaching courses on Lushootseed language and culture. For her work she has been awarded a NEA National Heritage Fellowship, an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Seattle University, and in 1989 was named a Washington State Living Treasure. She has published two dictionaries of the Lushootseed language, and 8 books on the culture.