How Indian Country Says I Love You

Valentines Day Artwork // image used with permission of TJ Young, of the Kaigani Haida NationArtwork used with permission by the artist,
TJ Young (Sgwaayaans) of the Kaigani Haida Nation

Since February is the month of romance, we thought we’d query our members, partners and friends to see how they’ll be expressing their affection this season.

With 574 federally recognized tribes, Native Hawaiians and even more state-recognized tribes throughout the country–each with their own distinctive cultures and languages – it’s no surprise that there are endless ways to say “I love you!”

Here are just a few:

Alutiiq Language, Alaska

Qunukamken — I love you


Chickasaw, Oklahoma

Chiholloli — I love you


Diné, Navajo, Arizona/New Mexico

Ayóó’áníínísh’ní — I love you


Klamath-Modoc, Oregon

Moo ‘ams ni stinta — I love you


Mahican Dialect, Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe of Wisconsin

Aʔwãandowãakun — Love

Ktaʔwãanin — I Love You


Mohawk, New York

Konnorónhkwa — I love you


Nimiipuutimpt, Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho

In ‘ee hetewise — I love you


Northern Paiute, Nevada

Nu Soopeda U — I love you

Pesa Nasoopedyadu — Loved


Ojibwa/Bad River Ojibwe, Wisconsin

Gizaagiin — I love you


‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian Language), Hawai‘i

Aloha au iā ‘oe — I love you


Oneida Tribe, Wisconsin

Kunoluhkwa — I love you


Pueblo of Acoma, Acoma Keres dictionary, New Mexico


Thro sii muu — You are dear to me


Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico

Eee-peinoom — I love you


Pueblo of Laguna, Laguna Keres dictionary, New Mexico

Amuu-thro-maa — I love you

Guuts’imi — He/she loves him/her


Pueblo of San Felipe, San Felipe Keres dictionary, New Mexico

Shro- tse-mah — I love you


Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico

‘Ho’doh’ee’cheht’mah — I love you


Salish, Washington

k?  hin  x?menc? — I love you


Seneca Tribe, New York

gönóöhgwa’ — I love you


Tlingit, Alaska

Ixsixán — I love you

I daat axajóon — I’m dreaming of you

Ax x’éit yees.á — Kiss me


Tunica, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana

Ma ihkmahka — I love you (to a male)

Hɛma ihkmahka — I love you (to a female)


Twulshootseed, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Washington

ʔuʔušəbicid čəd — I have compassion/unconditional love for you (Non-romantic love)

cay čəxʷ dsx̌aƛ’ — I very much desire you. ‘I love you.’ (Romantic love)


Editor’s Note

The words and phrases in this post were provided by members of the Tribes listed. Spellings and translations may vary, and some words may be missing accents or symbols due to keyboard configurations. We’re happy to add your language and/or hear corrections and suggestions on spellings and translations, so please feel free to contact us at


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