Native American Indian languages
Native American tribes
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American Indian Language Translations: Words for Tattoos, Literature or Art
This is an expansion of our popular Native American Pet Names
fundraiser. A lot of people write to us asking for an American Indian translation from English for a tattoo,
jewelry inscription, piece of artwork, story they're writing, grandfather's birthday cake, and so forth. In most cases you can
make a translation to Indian languages yourself for free if you are willing to spend the time--check out our
Amerindian index for a large number of
language-related Internet resources including online American Indian-English dictionaries and lists of
vocabulary words in Native American languages.
If you don't care to do this, though--it can take a long time to do Native American translation if you're not
familiar with these languages and you don't already know which language you're looking for-- you can ask us and
we'll do the translating for you, in exchange for a $10 donation to our
(which will then be used to preserve and promote endangered Indian languages). The list of languages we can currently
provide native translations for include Abenaki, Algonquin, Apache, Athabaskan, Bella Coola, Blackfoot, Caddo, Cherokee,
Cheyenne, Chipewyan, Chippewa, Choctaw, Comanche, Cree, Creek, Crow, Dakota Sioux, Dene, Delaware, Haida, Hopi,
Inuktitut, Lakota, Lenape, Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, Mesquakie, Mohawk, Mojave, Munsee, Muskogee, Navajo, Nez Perce,
Nuxalk, Ojibway, Oneida, Osage, Pima, Potawatomi, Salish, Sauk, Seneca, Shawnee, Shoshone, Tohono O'odham, Tlingit,
and Yaqui. We may also be able to translate an American Indian word from another language--
contact us first if you have a different language in mind.
Please note that this is only a fun way to raise money for a good cause. We will not give you or anyone
else a "spirit name," nor will we bless you, the words, or whatever you are writing them on. These requests are
offensive to many Native Americans; please respect our beliefs and do not misrepresent our role in
suggesting these translations. They are no different, spiritually speaking, than words you looked up in an English-Indian
language dictionary. If you are looking for an American Indian name with spiritual significance, please talk
to an elder in your community. No stranger can do this for you over the Internet, any more than you could get baptised
over the Internet. Also, if you are planning on getting a tattoo, please be aware that using words as tribal tattoos is a
modern practice, not a traditional one in any Indian tribe that we know of. If it is important to you to have a
traditional style tattoo, please see Orrin's article on
Native American Tattoos to learn more about that difficult quest.
On the other hand, if you are looking for the translation of a word from English into Native American languages for a
modern style tattoo or another creative but non-religious endeavor, then please fill out the form below. After you send
it you will be prompted to make a $10 donation. If you prefer, you can also write down this information and send it
along with cash or a check (made out to Native Languages of the Americas) to our postal address:
Native Languages of the Americas
PO Box 385291
Minneapolis, MN 55438
We will email you three possible Native American words or phrases that match your criteria, along with each word's
meaning, language, and pronunciation, and you can pick the translation that appeals to you the most. Please note that
some American Indian languages use modified European alphabets, so they may have diacritics (accent marks, or
other notations above or below some of the letters). You're welcome to ignore these or even use a simplified spelling
that looks better to you if you like. Except for Cherokee,
Native North American writing systems originally came from outside the community anyway.
Native American Translations for Tattoos, Stories, and Inscriptions
Additional American Indian Translation Resources
Here is a list of our specific online resources for finding Indian language words:
Online Picture Dictionaries: The names of various animals translated from Indian languages to English, with pictures.
Comparative Vocabulary Words: Basic vocabulary of Indian languages with English translation.
Indian Pronunciation Guides: Charts showing how to pronounce words in Indian languages.
Counting in Indian Languages: Lists of number words in American Indian languages.
Parts of the Body: English to Native American translation of body part words.
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