The use of the Yurok language dramatically decreased when non-Indians settled in the Yurok territory. By the early 1900s the Yurok language was near extinction. It took less than 40 years for the language to reach that level. It took another 70 years for the Yurok language to recover.
When the language revitalization effort began the use of old records helped new language learners. However, it was through hearing fluent speakers that many young learners fluency level increased. When the Yurok Tribe began to operate as a formal tribal government a language program was created.
In 1996 the Yurok Tribe received assistance from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). With the development of a Long Range Restoration Plan a survey was completed and the results showed that there were only 20 fluent speakers and 12 semi-fluent speakers of the Yurok language. After a decade of language restoration activities, the Tribe most recently documented that there are now only 11 fluent Yurok speakers, but now have 37 advanced speakers, 60 intermediate speakers and approximately 311 basic speakers.
The Yurok Tribe continues to look to new approaches like the use of digital technology, internet sites, short stories, and supplemental curriculum. The Tribe continues to increase the number of language classes taught on and off the Reservation, at local schools for young learners and at community classes.