How Indian Country Says I Love You

In early February, the United Nations proclaimed 2019 to the year of Indigenous Languages.

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 also 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 573 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
I love you Qunukamken  


Chickasaw, Oklahoma
I love you Chiholloli  


Diné, Navajo, Arizona/New Mexico
I love you Ayóó’áníínísh’ní  


Klamath-Modoc, Oregon
I love you very much Moo ‘ams ni stinta  


Mahican Dialect, Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe of Wisconsin
Love Aʔwãandowãakun  
I Love You Ktaʔwãanin  


Mohawk, New York
I love you Konnorónhkwa  


Nimiipuutimpt, Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho
I love you In ‘ee hetewise  


Northern Paiute
I love you Nu Soopeda U  
Loved Pesa Nasoopedyadu  


I love you Nu Besha supeeta  


Ojibwa/Bad River Ojibwe, Wisconsin
I love you Gizaagiin  


‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian Language), Hawai‘i
I love you Aloha au iā ‘oe  


Oneida Tribe, Wisconsin
I love you Kunoluhkwa   


Pueblo of Acoma, Acoma Keres dictionary, New Mexico
You are dear to me Thro sii muu  


Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico
I love you Eee-peinoom  


Pueblo of Laguna, Laguna Keres dictionary, New Mexico
I love you Amuu-thro-maa  
He/she loves him/her Guuts’imi  


Pueblo of San Felipe, San Felipe Keres dictionary, New Mexico
I love you Shro- tse-mah  


Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico
I love you ‘Ho’doh’ee’cheht’mah  


Salish, Washington
I love you k?  hin  x?menc?   


Seneca Tribe, New York
I love you gönóöhgwa’  


Tlingit, Alaska
I love you Ixsixán  
I’m dreaming of you I daat axajóon   
Kiss me Ax x’éit yees.á  


Tunica, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana
I love you (to a male) Ma ihkmahka  
I love you (to a female) Hɛma ihkmahka  


Twulshootseed, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Washington
I have compassion/unconditional love for you (Non-romantic love) ʔuʔušəbicid čəd  
I very much desire you. ‘I love you.’ (Romantic love) cay čəxʷ dsx̌aƛ’  


Disappearing Languages

According to UNESCO, approximately 600 languages have disappeared in the last century.

More alarmingly, they continue to disappear at a rate of one language every two weeks. If this pace continues, up to 90 percent of the world’s languages are likely to disappear before the end of this century.

For more information on the Year of Indigenous Languages, visit or follow the hashtag #IY2019).

Language Resources

American Indian Language Development Institute

Northwest Indian Language Institute

Indigenous Language Institute

Consortium of Indigenous Language Organizations

Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival 

Note: The words and phrases in this post were provided by members of the various 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 please contact us at


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