Women’s History Month

Female Family Members

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

Every month throughout the year, AIANTA is choosing different words and phrases to highlight the diversity in our Native languages.

In March, to honor Women’s history month, we are featuring female family members.

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

Araphaho, Wyoming
Neinoo Mother
Notoone Daughter
Nei Sister, Elder
Neesebi Niece
Neheihoo Aunt
Neiwoo Grandmother
Neisii Grandchild

Choctaw, Oklahoma
ishki Mother
ushi tek Daughter
i tek Sister
ibihtek Niece
hokni Aunt
ippokni Grandmother
ipok tek Granddaughter

Hualapai, Arizona
jitha Mother
misi’ Daughter
ginya Sister, Younger
niya Sister, Older
wisa Niece
nithi Aunt (Mother”s Side)
goda Grandmother (Mother’s Side)
monya Grandmother (Father’s Side)
ko’ Granddaughter

Mohawk, New York
Ka’nisténhsera Mother
Kheién:’a Daughter
Khe’kén:’a Sister, Younger
Aktsi’:’a Sister, Older
Kheienhwatén:’a Niece
Ake’nisténha Aunt
Akhsótha Grandmother
Kheiatere’:’a Granddaughter

Ojibwe Language
Nimaamaa(yag) Mother(s)
Nindaanis(ag) Daughter(s)
Nimise(yag) Sister(s), Older
Ninzigos(ag) Aunt, Father’s Sister(s)
Ninoshenh(yag) Aunt, Mother’s Sister(s)
Nookomis(ag) Grandmother(s)
Niijikwe Female Friend(s)
Niwiiw(ag) Wife (Wives)

Paiute, Nevada
beah Mother
budduh Daughter
hummah Sister, Older
buneh Sister, Younger
bedduh Aunt, Mother’s Side
buhwuah Aunt, Father’s Side
hootzee Grandmother. Father’s Side
mooah Grandmother. Mother’s Side
hootze Granddaughter/Grandson, Father’s Side
mooah Granddaughter/Grandson, Mother’s Side

Pyramid Lake Paiute, Nevada
Pea Mother
Padu Daughter
Hamma’a Sister, Older
Punne’e Sister, Younger
Hooza Niece, Father’s Side
Nanakwa Niece, Mother’s Side
Pedoo’o Aunt, Mother’s Side
Pa’wa Aunt, Father’s Sister (man speaking)
Medo’o Aunt, Father’s Sister (woman speaking)
Hootse’e Grandmother. Father’s Side
Mooa’a Grandmother. Mother’s Side
Hoobe’e Granddaughter

Tlingit, Alaska
Tláa Mother
Chaan Mother-in-Law
Sée Daughter
Dlaak’ Boy’s Sister
Shátx Giril’s Older Sister
Kéek’ Girl’s Younger Sister
Káalk’w Niece, Sister’s Child
Tláak’w Maternal Aunt
Aat Paternal Aunt
Léelk’w Grandmother/Grandfather/Grandparent(s)
Daakanóox’u Great-Great Grandparents
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 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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