We the People

How Do You Say Mother?

In February, the United Nations proclaimed 2019 to be the year of Indigenous Languages, so every month this year, AIANTA is showcasing different words and phrases to highlight the diversity in our Native languages.

With Mother’s Day on the horizon, we queried our tribes and other language experts on how to address female family members in their Native languages.  (We extend warm thanks to everyone who helped contribute to this and all our indigenous language posts.)

How many ways do you know how to say mother?:

The People Ka Lāhui ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian Language) Hawaii
The People Tonisɛma Tunica Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana

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.

In the United States, according to the Indigenous Language Institute, there were more than 300 indigenous languages. Today, about 175 remain, although this number may shrink to 20 by 2050 if efforts aren’t made to preserve these languages.

For more information on the Year of Indigenous Languages, visit https://en.iyil2019.org/ 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 info@aianta.org.



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