How Indian Country Says I Love You

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

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.

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.

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
Qunukamken I love you    
Tlingit, Alaska
Ixsixán I love you    
I daat axajóon  I’m dreaming of you    
Ax x’éit yees.á Kiss me    
‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian Language), Hawai‘i
Aloha au iā ‘oe I love you    
k?  hin  x?menc?  I love you    
Klamath-Modoc, Oregon
Moo ‘ams ni stinta I love you very much    
Nimiipuutimpt (Nez Perce language), Idaho
In ‘ee hetewise I love you    
Mohawk, New York
Konnorónhkwa I love you    
Seneca Tribe, New York
gönóöhgwa’ I love you    
Tunica, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana
Ma ihkmahka I love you (to a male)    
Hɛma ihkmahka I love you (to a female)    
Northern Paiute
Nu Soopeda U I love you    
Pesa Nasoopedyadu Loved    
Ojibwa/Bad River Ojibwe, Wisconsin
Gizaagiin I love you    
Oneida Tribe, Wisconsin
Kunoluhkwa  I love you    
Chickasaw, Oklahoma
Chiholloli I love you    
Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico (Laguna Keres dictionary)
Amuu-thro-maa I love you    
Guuts’imi He/she loves him/her    
Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico (Acoma Keres dictionary)
Thro sii muu You are dear to me    
Pueblo of San Felipe, New Mexico (San Felipe Keres)
Shro- tse-mah I love you    
Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico
Eee-peinoom I love you    
Diné, Navajo
Ayóó’áníínísh’ní I love you    
Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico
‘Ho’doh’ee’cheht’mah I love you    


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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