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Cree Kinship Terms

In the Cree language, respect is shown towards family members by referring to them by their relation rather than by name. For example, the word "mother" is different from "my mother," "your mother," or his/her mother.

Kinship terms are organized from 1st to 3rd person, where the root words change based on the relationship being described. The beginning of each root word changes to include the prefixes below:


First Person (niya) - Me, Myself, I 

Second Person (kiya) - You, Yourself

Third Person (wiya) - Him, Himself, He, Her, She Herself

Root words

ohtawiyimaw - the father

okawiyimaw - the mother

ostesimaw - the oldest brother

omisimaw - the oldest sister

osimisimaw - the youngest sibling

Root words are changed by:

1. Removing the suffix (-imaw)

2. Dropping the short o if it is the first letter

3. Placing the word in the structure.

The main structure for kinship terms are:

  • Ni_____

  • Ki_____

  • O______a


Family Unit Words

nohtawiy - my father

kohtawiy- your father

ohtawiya - his/her father

nikawiy - my mother

kikawiy - your mother

okawiya - his/her mother


nicapan - my great-grandparent

kicapan - your great-grandparent

ocapana - his/her great-grandparent

nimosom - my grandfather

kimosom - your grandfather

omosoma - his/her grandfather

nohkom - my grandmother

kohkom - your grandmother

ohkoma - his/her grandmother


nistes - my older brother

kistes - your older brother

ostesa - your older brother


nimis - my older sister

kimis - your older sister

omisa - his/her older sister

nisimis - my younger sibling

kisimis - your younger sibling

osimisa - his/her younger siblings

Older Siblings & Cousins

nistes - my mother's sister(s)' son(s), my father's brother(s)' son(s) , my older brother. 

kistes - your mother's sister(s)' son(s), your father's brother(s)' son(s), your older brother. 

ostesa - his/her mother's sister(s)' son(s), his/her father's brother(s)' son(s), his/her older brother. 


nimis - my mother's sister(s)' daughter(s), my father's brother(s)' daughter(s), my older sister.


kimis - your mother's sister(s)' daughter(s), your father's brother(s)' daughter(s), your older sister.

omisa - his/her mother's sister(s)' daughter(s), his/her father's brother(s)' daughter(s), his/her older sister



nicimos - my cousin. (my mother's brother's son, my father's sister's son) nitim - diminutive form.

kicimos - your cousin. (your mother's brother's son, your father's sister's son) kitim - diminutive form

wicimosa - his/her cousin.(his/her mother's brother's son/daughter, his/her father's sister's son/daughter) 


nicahkos - (for females) my cousin. (my father's sister's daughter(s), my mother's brother's daughter(s)) 

kicahkos - (for females) your cousin. (your father's sister's daughter(s), your mother's brother's daughter(s)) 

ocahkosa - her cousin. (her father's sister's daughter(s), her mother's brother's daughter(s))


niscas - (for males) my cousin. my mother's brother's son(s). my father's sister's son(s).

kiscas - (for males) my cousin. your mother's brother's son(s). your father's sister's son(s).

wiscasa - his cousin. his mother's brother's son(s). his father's sister's son(s).

Aunts & Uncles

nohcawis - my father's brother, my mother's sister's husband 

kohcawis - your father's brother, your mother's sister's husband

ohcawisa - his/her father's brother, his/her mother's sister's husband


nikawis - my mother's sister, my father's brother's wife

kikawis - your mother's sister, your father's brother's wife

okawisa - his/her mother's sister, his/her father's brother's wife


nisis - my mother's brother, my father-in-law

kisis - your mother's brother, your father-in-law

osisa - his/her mother's brother, his/her father-in-law


nisikos - my father's sister, my mother-in-law

kisikos - your father's sister, your mother-in-law

osiskosa - his/her father's sister, his/her mother-in-law


nitim - (for females) my brother-in-law, (for males) my sister-in-law

kitim - (for females) your brother-in-law, (for males) your sister-in-law

witimwa - her brother-in-law, his sister-in-law. 


nicahkos - (for females) my sister-in-law.

kicahkos - (for females) your sister-in-law.

ocahkosa - her sister-in-law


nistaw - (for males) my brother-in-law

kistaw - (for males) your brother-in-law

wistawa - (for males) his brother-in-law

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