"Okki Tokki Unga" is sung across the English-speaking world by Girl Scouts, at camps and in schools.

Most people think this is an Inuit canoeing song. However, I contacted the Ottawa Inuit Children's Centre and no one there recognizes any of the words in this song. -Mama Lisa

Okki Tokki Unga - American Children's Songs - The USA - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


I asked Lynda Brown from the Ottawa Inuit Children's Centre about this song and she wrote, "I have asked around and no one seems to recognize it, nor do they recognize any of the words- most commenters seemed to think it may be a First Nations song, especially if it's a song about canoes."


I emailed Wendy Camber at Alaska Native Language Archive about this song and here's what she wrote:

"I talked to Dr. Larry Kaplan, Linguist, Inupiaq Language and he could not identify any Eskimo words in the song. He said: 'This is one of those garbled things that doesn't look like any language, even though it is reportedly this or that. It sure doesn't look like any Eskimo language. There's always the chance that it's some language badly written, but how to tell?'

I'm sorry we could not be any more helpful.


PS. I remember that song well from Girl Scouts!"

Game Instructions

1. Children sit on the floor and pretend to paddle a canoe.
2. Children "stop" rowing, put hand up at forehead and mime looking around.

Repeat the song and actions.


You can learn other versions of Okki Tokki Onga and share your version on Mama Lisa's World Blog.

If anyone can help identify the origin of this song and/or its language, please email me. Thanks! Mama Lisa



Many thanks to Nicki Bowden and Class 2 Balshaw Lane Primary School for the wonderful recording!

Please let us know if you think this video has been taken down by YouTube.

Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Okki Tokki Unga

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Chrystal Woodard for contributing this song and the score.

Many thanks to Lynda Brown, Wendy Camber and Dr. Larry Kaplan for trying to help us learn about the origin of this song.

Thank you!