Honoring Our Fathers

Honoring Our Fathers

As we get ready to honor our dads this Father’s Day, we at AIANTA queried our tribal partners and other language experts on how to address male family members in their Native languages.  (We extend warm thanks to everyone who helped contribute to this and all our indigenous language posts.)

We had a great response (see below), but it’s never too late to contact us to add your own language to our list.


Aleut, Eastern Dialect, Alaska
English Singular Posessive
Father Ada{ Adang
Grandfather Latu}i{ Latu}ing
Son La{ Lang
Brother Braata{ (Russian loan word) Braatang
Uncle Yaaya{ (Russian loan word) Yaayang
Nephew Umni{ Uming
Aleut, Western Dialect, Alaska
English Singular Posessive
Father Ada{ Adang
Grandfather Latu{ or Latu}i{ Latu}ing
Boy (also Son) Hla{ Hlang
Brother Huyu{ (Her Brother) Huyung (My Brother)
Uncle Ami{ Amiing
Nephew Umni{ Umnii
Catawba Language, Catawba Indian Nation, South Carolina
Father nane (nah-nay)
My Father nanena (nah-nay-nah)
Chickasaw, Oklahoma
Father inki
Inupiat Language, North Slope, Alaska
Father Aapa
Older Brother Apiyaq
Siblings Aaviliatkutat
Younger Brother or Sister (plural, both sexes) Nukaaluq
‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian Language), Hawai‘i
Father Makuakāne
Grandfather Kupunakāne
Son/Boy Keikikāne
Brother (generally, and to a sister) Kaikunāne
Older Brother (to a brother) Kaikuaʻana
Younger Brother (to a brother) Kaikaina
Nephew (or Niece) ʻOhana Keiki
Mahican Dialect, Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe of Wisconsin
My Grandfather muxoom
My Son ndayoom
My Older Brother neetaʔkun
My Younger Brother (same word mother’s sister’s son) nxeethim
My Uncle (father’s brother) nãacheʔkw
My Uncle (mother’s brother) nseeth
My Nephew nookwuth
Mohawk, New York
My Father rake’níha
Your Father ia’niha
His Father ro’niha
Her Father ronwa’niha
Dad rákeni
My Grandfather rakhsótha
My Younger Brother ri’kén:’a
My Older Brother rakhtsí:’a
My Uncle rakenonhá:’a
My Nephew riionhwatén:’a
My Grandson riiateré:’a
Northern Paiute, Nevada
Father Na’a
Grandfather (moher’s father) To go’o
Grandfather (father’s father) Kuno’o
Uncle (mother’s brother) Aatse
Uncle (father’s brother) Hi’e
Tiwa/Northern Tiwa, Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
Dad Dama
Tlingit, Sitka Tribe, Alaska
My Father Ax Éesh
My Grandfather Ax Léelk’w
His/Her Son Du yéet
His Older Brother Du Húnxw
Her Brother Du éek’
His/Her Paternal Uncle Du sáni
His Sororal Nephew Du Kéilk’{
Tunica, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana
Father esiku
Grandfather ihchaku
Son imilaku (affectionately, “my boy”)
Brother (Same Sex Sibling) ihtat’ɛku
Brother (Opposite Sex Sibling) ɛhɛyaku
Maternal Uncle ikiku
Maternal Aunt’s Husband esisahuku
Older Paternal Uncle esit’ɛku
Younger Paternal Uncle esitohkuku
Nephew (Sister’s Child) ehtohkuku
Nephew (Brother’s Child) ehkutosahuku
Twulshootseed, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Washington
Father bad
Grandfather scapaʔ
Uncle qəsiʔ

Note: The words and phrases in this post were provided by members of the tribes listed. Spellings and translations may vary. Some words may be missing accents or symbols due to limited characters on a keyboard.

We’re happy to add your language and/or hear corrections and suggestions on spellings and translations, so feel free to contact us at info@aianta.org.

Year of Indigenous Languages

Learn more about the year of Indigenous Languages and view more posts in AIANTA’s Native Greetings series here.


Photo credits: Top photo: Cherokee Nation; Feature photo: Brian Cladoosby, Swinomish Tribe (c) Ecotrust, Flickr.com.


Bureau of Indian Affairs

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

Native American Agriculture Fund

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

Bureau of Land Management

National Endowment of the Arts

National Park Service

United States Forest Service