What "Tikbva Ihiya" Means to Me

I recently started signing off my newsletters with the Choctaw words tikbva ihiya. I found this term on the Chahta Foundation website, with a handy pronunciation button by it. But the narration there did more than pronounce the words. It stirred and inspired me.

Olin Williams (narrator) not only gives the definition for the words (tikbva means “forward” and ihiya means to “keep going”), Olin said, “Together, these words define what it means to be Choctaw.” Such a simple explanation, but one that resonated deep in my soul. 

Keep going forward.

That is the legacy of my ancestors. After William Robuck, my seventh generation great-grandfather, buried his father on the Trail of Tears, he kept going. He kept moving. His faithful actions still move in my life today.

That’s why I want to use these meaningful words, tikbva ihiya. To pass on to you the spirit, faith, and hope my people live walk in. It’s my way of saying, “Don’t give up. Keep going, keep hoping, keep living your purpose in life. No matter what.”

God knows.


Tikbva ihiya,