Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared With That Among Other Peoples And Deaf-Mutes
by Garrick Mallery
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(15) akiwe[n]'si old man

(16) Expressed by gesture only.

(17) The same as No. 13.

(18) ogwis'san ga'ie, Sabadis his son too, John Baptist.

(19) mi minik' so many

(20)(21) Gestures only.

(22) mi wa'pi thus far, i.e., at that time.

(23) we'ai gion'din then the wind blew from

(24) me'gwa nin wewe'banabina'ban while I was (in the act of) fishing with the hook nin'goting gonin'gotchi at one time somewhere (out of its course) oda'bigamo nimigis'skane'ab was drawn my hook line

(25) a'nin ejiwe'bak? how it happens?

(26) Gesture only.

(27) taai'! ho!

(28) mi'gwam the ice

(29) ma'dja goes

(30)(31) Gestures only.

(32) we'wib quickly

(33)(34) Gestures only.

(35) wagak'wadŏ[n]s hatchet

(36) (37) Gestures only.

(38) (39) nin bita'gime I put on snowshoes

(40) win madja'min we go (start)

(41) Gestures only.

(42) (43) mamaw'e together

(44) Gesture only.

(45) esh'kam ki'tchi no'din more big wind

(46) Gesture only.

(47) mi ja'igwa gima'djishkad (i.e., mi'gwam) already has moved off (i.e., the ice)

(48) (49) Gestures only.

(50) mi'wapi thus far, i.e., at such a distance

(51) Gesture only.

(52) a'nin dash gediji'tehigeiang? how (i.e., what) shall we do?

(53) (54) mi e'ta be'jigwang wagak'wadŏ[n]s only one hatchet

(55) ge'get gisan'agissimin indeed we are badly off.

(56) haw! bak'wewada mi'gwam! well! (hallo!) let us cut the ice!

(57) (58) (59) Gestures only.

(60) sa'nagad it is bad (hard)

(61) mi epi'tading so it is thick (so thick is it)

(62) Gesture only.

(63) mi dash mi'nawa minik' that again much (that much again)

(64) nibi' gon ga'ie water snow too (water and snow)

(65) nimidjik a'wanag my mittens

(66) a'pitchi very much

(67) nindas'san gaie my trowsers two

(68) Gestures only.

(69) nin gi'katch ja'igwa I feel cold already

(70) aw sa kiwe[n]'si the old man

(71) nawatch' win' more yet he

(72) Gesture only.

(73) nind aie'kos ja'igwa I am tired already

(74) Gesture only.

(75) Sa'badis John Baptist

(76) memesh'kwat kaki'na by turns all

(77) Gesture only.

(78) wi'ka ga'ishkwanawo'kweg late in the afternoon

(79) mi gibakwewangid now it is cut loose

(80) haw! well! (ho!)

(81) mama'we together

(82) Gesture only.

(83) a'gimag snowshoes

(84) ma'djishka it is moving

(85)-(87) Gestures only.

(88) aga'wa ma'djishkca scarcely it moves (very little)

(89) no'din wind

(90) Gesture only.

(91) Sa'badis John Baptist

(92) migiss'kaneyab hook-line

(93) (94) oginisswa'biginan he twisted three cords together

(95)-(98) Gestures only.

(99) oginisso'bidonan (i.e., migaskanan) he tied together three (i.e., hooks)

(100) Gesture only.

(101) ogiaba'gidonan dash he threw it out

(102) Gesture only.

(103) owikobi'donan he wants to draw it in

(104) kawes'sa in vain ("no go")

(105)-(108) Gestures only.

(109) ka'win sagakwidis'sinon (not) it don't catch on the rock-bottom

(110) mi'nawa—mo'jag again—often (repeatedly)

(111) The same as No. 104.

(112) The same as No. 80.

(113) Gesture only.

(114) e'nigok vigorously

(115) ja'igwa ona'kwishi already evening

(116) esh'kam kis'sina more cold (getting colder)

(117) The same as No. 70.

(118) mi ja'igwa gianiji'tang already he has given up

(119) was'sa ja'igwa far already

(120) niwebas'himin we have drifted out

(121) Gesture only.

(122) (123) mi'sa e'ta mij'iang (now) only we are two

(124) Gesture only.

(125) ja'igwa tehi'gibig already near to shore

(126) mi ja'igwa anibonen'damang now we catch new spirits

(127) esh'kam nigijijaw'isimin more we are strong (i.e., our strength and courage increases)

(128) (129) e-eh! was'sa ja'igwa' oh! far already mi'gwam! the ice!

(130) ja'igwa already

(131) ke'abi yet

(132) go'mapi so far perhaps

(133) ge'ga bangi'shimo nearly sundown

(134) Gesture only.

(135) mi gibima'jagang we have landed

(136) mi gibima'disiang we have saved our lives.



The following is the farewell address of KIN CHĒ-ĔSS (Spectacles), medicine-man of the Wichitas, to Rev. A.J. HOLT, missionary, on his departure from the Wichita Agency, in the words of the latter:

He placed one hand on my breast, the other on his own, then clasped his two hands together after the manner of our congratulations—We are friends, Fig. 320. He placed one hand on me, the other on himself, then placed the first two fingers of his right hand between his lips—We are brothers. He placed his right hand over my heart, his left hand over his own heart, then linked the first fingers of his right and left hands—Our hearts are linked together. See Fig. 232, p. 386. He laid his right hand on me lightly, then put it to his mouth, with the knuckles lightly against his lips, and made the motion of flipping water from the right-hand forefinger, each flip casting the hand and arm from the mouth a foot or so, then bringing it back in the same position. (This repeated three or more times, signifying talk or talking.) Fig. 321. He then made a motion with his right hand as if he were fanning his right ear; this repeated. He then extended his right hand with his index finger pointing upward, his eyes also being turned upward—You told me of the Great Father. Pointing to himself, he hugged both hands to his bosom, as if he were affectionately clasping something he loved, and then pointed upward in the way before described—I love him (the Great Father). Laying his right hand on me, he clasped his hands to his bosom as before—I love you. Placing his right hand on my shoulder, he threw it over his own right shoulder as if he were casting behind him a little chip, only when his hand was over his shoulder his index finger was pointing behind him—You go away. Pointing to his breast, he clinched the same hand as if it held a stick, and made a motion as if he were trying to strike something on the ground with the bottom of the stick held in an upright position—I stay, or I stay right here, Fig. 322.

Placing his right hand on me, he placed both his hands on his breast and breathed deeply two or three times, then using the index finger and thumb of each hand as if he were holding a small pin, he placed the two hands in this position as if he were holding a thread in each hand and between the thumb and forefinger of each hand close together, and then let his hands recede from each other, still holding his fingers in the same position, as if he were letting a thread slip between them until his hands were two feet apart—You live long time, Fig. 323. Laying his right hand on his breast, then extending his forefinger of the same hand, holding it from him at half-arm's length, the finger pointing nearly upward, then moving his hand, with the finger thus extended, from side to side about as rapidly as a man steps in walking, each time letting his hand get farther from him for three or four times, then suddenly placing his left hand in a horizontal position with the fingers extended and together so that the palm was sidewise, he used the right-hand palm, extended, fingers together, as a hatchet, and brought it down smartly, just missing the ends of the fingers of the left hand, Fig. 324. Then placing his left hand, with the thumb and forefinger closed, to his heart, he brought his right hand, fingers in the same position, to his left; then, as if he were holding something between his thumb and forefinger, he moved his right hand away as if he were slowly casting a hair from him, his left hand remaining at his breast, and his eyes following his right—I go about a little while longer, but will be cut off shortly and my spirit will go away (or will die). Placing the thumbs and forefingers again in such a position as if he held a small thread between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, and the hands touching each other, he drew his hands slowly from each other, as if he were stretching a piece of gum-elastic; then laying his right hand on me, he extended the left hand in a horizontal position, fingers extended and closed, and brought down his right hand with fingers extended and together, so as to just miss the tips of the fingers of his left hand; then placing his left forefinger and thumb against his heart, he acted as if he took a hair from the forefinger and thumb of his left hand with the forefinger and thumb of the right, and slowly cast it from him, only letting his left hand remain at his breast, and let the index finger of the right hand point outward toward the distant horizon—After a long time you die. When placing his left hand upon himself and his right hand upon me, he extended them upward over his head and clasped them there—We then meet in heaven. Pointing upward, then to himself, then to me, he closed the third and little finger of his right hand, laying his thumb over them, then extending his first and second fingers about as far apart as the eyes, he brought his hand to his eyes, fingers pointing outward, and shot his hand outward—I see you up there. Pointing to me, then giving the last above-described sign of look, then pointing to himself, he made the sign as if stretching out a piece of gum-elastic between the fingers of his left and right hands, and then made the sign of cut-off before described, and then extended the palm of the right hand horizontally a foot from his waist, inside downward, then suddenly threw it half over and from him, as if you were to toss a chip from the back of the hand (this is the negative sign everywhere used among these Indians)—I would see him a long time, which should never be cut off, i.e., always.

Pointing upward, then rubbing the back of his left hand lightly with the forefinger of his right, he again gave the negative sign.—No Indian there (in heaven). Pointing upward, then rubbing his forefinger over the back of my hand, he again made the negative sign—No white man there. He made the same sign again, only he felt his hair with the forefinger and thumb of his right hand, rolling the hair several times between the fingers—No black man in heaven. Then rubbing the back of his hand and making the negative sign, rubbing the back of my hand and making the negative sign, feeling of one of his hairs with the thumb and forefinger of his right hand, and making the negative sign, then using both hands as if he were reaching around a hogshead, he brought the forefinger of his right hand to the front in an upright position after their manner of counting, and said thereby—No Indian, no white man, no black man, all one. Making the "hogshead" sign, and that for look, he placed the forefinger of each hand side by side pointing upward—All look the same, or alike. Running his hands over his wild Indian costume and over my clothes, he made the "hogshead" sign, and that for same, and said thereby—All dress alike there. Then making the "hogshead" sign, and that for love, (hugging his hands), he extended both hands outward, palms turned downward, and made a sign exactly similar to the way ladies smooth a bed in making it; this is the sign for happy—All will be happy alike there. He then made the sign for talk and for Father, pointing to himself and to me—You pray for me. He then made the sign for go away, pointing to me, he threw right hand over his right shoulder so his index finger pointed behind him—You go away. Calling his name he made the sign for look and the sign of negation after pointing to me—Kin Chē-ĕss see you no more.

Fig. 322, an illustration in the preceding address, also represents a common gesture for sit down, if made to the right of the hip, toward the locality to be occupied by the individual invited. The latter closely corresponds to an Australian gesture described by Smyth (The Aborigines of Victoria, London, 1878, Vol. II, p. 308, Fig. 260), as follows: "Minnie-minnie (wait a little). It is shaken downwards rapidly two or three times. Done more slowly towards the ground, it means 'Sitdown.'" This is reproduced in Fig. 325.


The following statement was made to Dr. W.J. HOFFMAN by TSO-DI-A'-KO (Shaved-head Boy), chief of the Wichitas in Indian Territory, while on a visit to Washington, D.C., in June 1880.

The Indian being asked whether there was any timber in his part of the Territory, replied in signs as follows:

(1) Move the right hand, fingers loosely extended, separated and pointing upward, back to the front, upward from the height of the waist to the front of the face—tree (for illustration see Fig. 112, p. 343); repeat this two or three times—trees; (2) then hold the hand, fingers extended and joined, pointing upward, with the back to the front, and push it forward toward different points on a level with the face-standing at various places; (3) both hands, with spread and slightly curved fingers, are held about two feet apart, before the thighs, palms facing, then draw them toward one another horizontally and gradually upward until the wrists cross, as if grasping a bunch of grass and pulling it up—many; (4) point to the southwest with the index, elevating it a little above the horizon—country; (5) then throw the fist edgewise toward the surface, in that direction—my, mine; (6) place both hands, extended, flat, edgewise before the body, the left below the right, and both edges pointing toward the ground a short distance to the left of the body, then make repeated cuts toward that direction from different points, the termination of each cut ending at nearly the same point—cut down, Fig. 326; (7) hold the left hand with the fingers and thumb collected to a point, directed horizontally forward, and make several cutting motions with the edge of the flat right hand transversely by the tips of the left, and upon the wrist—cut off the ends; (8) then cut upon the left hand, still held in the same position, with the right, the cuts being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the palm—split; (9) both hands closed in front of the body, about four inches apart, with forefingers and thumbs approximating half circles, palms toward the ground, move them forward so that the back of the hand comes forward and the half circles imitate the movement of wheels—wagon, Fig. 327; (10) hold the left flat hand before the body, pointing horizontally forward, with the palm down, then bring the right flat hand from the right side and slap the palm upon the back of the left several times—load, upon, Fig. 328; (11) partly close the right hand as if grasping a thick rod, palm toward the ground, and push it straight forward nearly to arm's length—take; (12) hold both hands with fingers naturally extended and slightly separated nearly at arm's length before the body, palms down, the right lying upon the left, then pass the upper forward and downward from the left quickly, so that the wrist of the right is raised and the fingers point earthward—throw off; (13) cut the left palm repeatedly with the outer edge of the extended right hand—build; (14) hold both hands edgewise before the body, palms facing, spread the fingers and place those of one hand into the spaces between those of the left, so that the tips of one protrude beyond the backs of the fingers of the other—log house, see Fig. 253, p. 428; (15) then place the flat right hand, palm down and fingers pointing to the left, against the breast and move it forward, and slightly upward and to the right—good.


[There is] much timber [in] my country [of which I] cut down [some], (3) (1,2) (5) (4) (6)

trimmed, split, loaded it upon a wagon [and] took it away, (7) (8) (10) (9) (11)

[where I] threw [it] off [and] built [a] good house . (12) (13) (15) (14)

NOTES.—As will be seen, the word timber is composed of signs No. 1 and 2, signifying trees standing. Sign No. 3, for many, in this instance, as in similar other examples, becomes much. The word "in," in connection with country and my, is expressed by the gesture of pointing (passing the hand less quickly than in ordinary sign language) before making sign No. 5. That sign commonly given for possession, would, without the prefix of indication, imply my country, and with that prefix signifies in my country. Sign No. 7, trimmed, is indicated by chopping off the ends, and facial expression denoting satisfaction. In sign Nos. 11 and 12 the gestures were continuous, but at the termination of the latter the narrator straightened himself somewhat, denoting that he had overcome the greater part of the labor. Sign No. 14 denotes log-house, from the manner of interlacing the finger-ends, thus representing the corner of a log-house, and the arrangement of the ends of the same. Indian lodge would be indicated by another sign, although the latter is often used as an abbreviation for the former, when the subject of conversation is known to all present.


The following remarks were obtained by Dr. W.J. HOFFMAN from TCE-CAQ-A-DAQ-A-QIC (Lean Wolf), chief of the Hidatsa Indians of Dakota Territory, who visited Washington in 1880:


(1) Place the closed hand, with the thumb resting over the middle of the index, on the left side of the forehead, palmar side down, then draw the thumb across the forehead to the right, a short distance beyond the head—white man, American, Fig. 329.

(2) Place the naturally extended hand, fingers and thumb slightly separated and pointing to the left, about fifteen inches before the right side of the body, bringing it to within a short distance—with us, Fig. 330.

(3) Extend the flat right hand to the front and right as if about to grasp the hand of another individual—friend, friends, Fig. 331. For remarks connected with this sign see pp. 384-386.

(4) Place the flat right hand, with fingers only extended, back to the front, about eighteen inches before the right shoulder—four [years], Fig. 332.

(5) Close the right hand, leaving the index and second fingers extended and slightly separated, place it, back forward, about eight inches before the right side of the body, and pass it quickly to the left in a slightly downward curve—lie, Fig. 333.

(6) Place the clinched fists together before the breast, palms down, then separate them in a curve outward and downward to their respective sides—done, finished, "that is all", Fig. 334.


The collaborators in the work above explained have not generally responded to the request to communicate material under this head. It is, however, hoped that by now printing some extracts from published works and the few contributions recently procured, the attention of observers will be directed to the prosecution of research in this direction.

The term "signal" is here used in distinction from the signs noted in the DICTIONARY, extracts from which are given above, as being some action or manifestation intended to be seen at a distance, and not allowing of the minuteness or detail possible in close converse. Signals may be executed, first, exclusively by bodily action; second, by action of the person in connection with objects, such as a blanket, or a lance, or the direction imparted to a horse; third, by various devices, such as smoke, fire or dust, when the person of the signalist is not visible. When not simply intended to attract attention they are generally conventional, and while their study has not the same kind of importance as that of gesture signs, it possesses some peculiar interest.


Some of these are identical, or nearly so, with the gesture signs used by the same people.



Close the hand, place it against the forehead, and turn it back and forth while in that position. (Col. R.B. Marcy, U.S.A., Thirty Years of Army Life on the Border, New York, 1866, p. 34.)


The right hand is to be advanced about eighteen inches at the height of the navel, horizontal, relaxed, palm downward, thumb in the palm; then draw it near the side and at the same time drop the hand to bring the palm backward. The farther away the person called is, the higher the hand is raised. If very far off, the hand is raised high up over the head and then swung forward, downward, and backward to the side. (Dakota I, IV.)


There is something dangerous in that place.—Right-hand index-finger and thumb forming a curve, the other fingers closed; move the right hand forward, pointing in the direction of the dangerous place or animal. (Omaha I.)


Right-hand index and middle fingers open; motion to ward the enemy signifies "I do not fear you." Reverse the motion, bringing the hand toward the subject, means "Do your worst to me." (Omaha I.)


Pass around that object or place near you—she-i-he ti-dha-ga.—When a man is at a distance, I say to him "Go around that way." Describe a curve by raising the hand above the head, forefinger open, move to right or left according to direction intended and hand that is used, i.e., move to the left, use right hand; move to the right, use left hand. (Omaha I; Ponka I.)


—— To inquire disposition.

Raise the right hand with the palm in front and gradually push it forward and back several times; if they are not hostile it will at once be obeyed. (Randolph B. Marcy, The Prairie Traveler. New York, 1859, p. 214.)

—— Stand there! He is coming to you.

Right hand extended, flat, edgewise, moved downward several times. (Omaha I.)

—— Stand there! He is going toward you.

Hold the open right hand, palm to the left, with the tips of the fingers toward the person signaled to; thrust the hand forward in either an upward or downward curve. (Omaha I; Ponka I.)

—— Lie down flat where you are—she-dhu bis-pe zha[n]'-ga.

Extend the right arm in the direction of the person signaled to, having the palm down; move downward by degrees to about the knees. (Omaha I; Ponka I.)


Hold up palm of hand.—Observed as made by an Indian of the Kansas tribe in 1833. (John T. Irving, Indian Sketches. Philadelphia, 1835, vol. ii, p. 253.)

Elevate the extended hands at arm's length above and on either side of the head. Observed by Dr. W.J. Hoffman, as made in Northern Arizona in 1871 by the Apaches, Mojaves, Hualpais, and Seviches. "No arms"—corresponding with "hands up" of road-agents. Fig. 335.

The right hand held aloft, empty. (General G.A. Custer, My Life on the Plains, New York, 1874, p. 238.) This may be collated with the lines in Walt Whitman's Salut au Monde

Toward all I raise high the perpendicular hand,—I make the signal.

The Natchez in 1682 made signals of friendship to La Salle's party by the joining of the two hands of the signalist, much embarrassing Tonty, La Salle's lieutenant, in command of the advance in the descent of the Mississippi, who could not return the signal, having but one hand. His men responded in his stead. (Margry, Decouvertes et Etablissments des Francais dans l'ouest et dans le sud de l'Amerique Septentrionale, &c.)


—— I do not know you. Who are you?

After halting a party coming: Right hand raised, palm in front and slowly moved to the right and left. [Answered by tribal sign.] (Marcy's Prairie Traveler, loc. cit., 214.) Fig. 336. In this illustration the answer is made by giving the tribal sign for Pani.

—— To inquire if coming party is peaceful.

Raise both hands, grasped in the manner of shaking hands, or by locking the two forefingers firmly while the hands are held up. If friendly they will respond with the same signal. (Marcy's Prairie Traveler, loc. cit., 214.)


The United States steamer Saranac in 1874, cruising in Alaskan waters, dropped anchor in July, 1874, in Freshwater Harbor, back of Sitka, in latitude 59 degrees north. An armed party landed at a T'linkit village, deserted by all the inhabitants except one old man and two women, the latter seated at the feet of the former. The man was in great fear, turned his back and held up his hands as a sign of utter helplessness. (Extract from notes kindly furnished by Lieutenant-Commander WM. BAINBRIDGE HOFF, U.S.N., who was senior aid to Rear-Admiral Pennock, on the cruise mentioned.)


The palm of the hand is held toward the person [to whom the surrender is made]. (Long.)

Hold the palm of the hand toward the person as high above the head as the arm can be raised. (Dakota I.)



When the Ponkas or Omahas discover buffalo the watcher stands erect on the hill, with his face toward the camp, holding his blanket with an end in each hand, his arms being stretched out (right and left) on a line with, shoulders. (Dakota VIII; Omaha I; Ponka I.) See Fig. 337.

Same as (Omaha I), and (Ponka I); with the addition that after the blanket is held out at arm's length the arms are crossed in front of the body. (Dakota I.)


When it is intended to encamp, a blanket is elevated upon a pole so as to be visible to all the individuals of a moving party. (Dakota VIII.)


Hold out the lower edge of the robe or blanket, then wave it in to the legs. This is made when there is a desire to avoid general observation. (Matthews.)


Gather or grasp the left side of the unbuttoned coat (or blanket) with the right hand, and, either standing or sitting in position so that the signal can be seen, wave it to the left and right as often as may be necessary for the sign to be recognized. When made standing the person should not move his body. (Dakota I.)


—— Horseman at a distance, galloping, passing and repassing, and crossing each other—enemy comes. But for notice of herd of buffalo, they gallop back and forward abreast—do not cross each other. (H.M. Brackenridge's Views of Louisiana. Pittsburgh, 1814, p. 250.)

—— Riding rapidly round in a circle, "Danger! Get together as quickly as possible." (Richard Irving Dodge, lieutenant-colonel United States Army, The Plains of the Great West. New York, 1877, p. 368.)

—— Point the right index in the direction of the danger, and then throw the arm over the front of the body diagonally, so that the hand rests near the left shoulder, back outward. If the person to be notified of the danger should be in the rear precede the above signal with that for "Attention." This signal can also be made with a blanket, properly grasped so as to form a long narrow roll. Perhaps this signal would more properly belong under "Caution," as it would be used to denote the presence of a dangerous beast or snake, and not that of a human enemy. (Dakota I.)

—— Passing and repassing one another, either on foot or mounted, is used as a war-signal; which is expressed in the Hidatsa—makimakă'da—halidie. (Mandan and Hidatsa I.)


—— Pass around that place.

Point the folded blanket in the direction of the object or place to be avoided, then draw it near the body, and wave it rapidly several times in front of the body only, and then throwing it out toward the side on which you wish the person to approach you, and repeat a sufficient number of times for the signal to be understood. (Dakota I.)


The discovery of enemies, game, or anything else, is announced by riding rapidly to and fro, or in a circle. The idea that there is a difference in the signification of these two directions of riding appears, according to many of the Dakota Indians of the Missouri Valley, to be erroneous. Parties away from their regular encampment are generally in search of some special object, such as game, or of another party, either friendly or hostile, which is, generally understood, and when that object is found, the announcement is made to their companions in either of the above ways. The reason that a horseman may ride from side to side is, that the party to whom he desires to communicate may be at a particular locality, and his movement—at right angles to the direction to the party—would be perfectly clear. Should the party be separated into smaller bands, or have flankers or scouts at various points, the only way in which the rider's signal could be recognized as a motion from side to side, by all the persons to whom the signal was directed, would be for him to ride in a circle, which he naturally does. (Dakota VI, VII, VIII.) Fig. 338.

The latter was noticed by Dr. Hoffman in 1873, on the Yellowstone River, while attached to the Stanley Expedition. The Indians had again concentrated after their first repulse by General Custer, and taken possession of the woods and bluffs on the opposite side of the river. As the column came up, one Indian was seen upon a high bluff to ride rapidly round in a circle, occasionally firing off his revolver. The signal announced the discovery of the advancing force, which had been expected, and he could be distinctly seen from the surrounding region. As many of the enemy were still scattered over the neighborhood, some of them would not have been able to recognize this signal had he ridden to and from an observer, but the circle produced a lateral movement visible from any point.

—— Of enemies, or other game than Buffalo. See also NOTES ON CHEYENNE AND ARAPAHO SIGNALS.

The discovery of enemies is indicated by riding rapidly around in a circle, so that the signal could be seen by their friends, but out of sight of the discovered enemy. (Dakota I.)

When enemies are discovered, or other game than buffalo, the sentinel waves his blanket over his head up and down, holding an end in each hand. (Omaha I; Ponka I.)

—— Of game, wood, water, &c.

This is communicated by riding rapidly forward and backward on the top of the highest hill. The same would be communicated with a blanket by waving it right and left, and then directly toward the game or whatever the party might be searching for, indicating that it is not to the right or to the left, but directly in front. (Dakota I.)


"It is done by signals, devised after a system of the Indian's own invention, and communicated in various ways.

"Wonderful as the statement may appear, the signaling on a bright day, when the sun is in the proper direction, is done with a piece of looking-glass held in the hollow of the hand. The reflection of the sun's rays thrown on the ranks communicates in some mysterious way the wishes of the chief. Once standing on a little knoll overlooking the valley of the South Platte, I witnessed almost at my feet a drill of about one hundred warriors by a Sioux chief, who sat on his horse on a knoll opposite me, and about two hundred yards from his command in the plain below. For more than half an hour he commanded a drill, which for variety and promptness of action could not be equaled by any civilized cavalry of the world. All I could see was an occasional movement of the right arm. He himself afterwards told me that he used a looking-glass." (Dodge's Plains of the Great West, loc. cit., pp. 307, 308.)


If two Indians [of the plains] are approaching one another on horseback, and they may, for instance, be one mile apart, or as far as they can see each other. At that safe distance one wants to indicate to the other that he wishes to be friendly. He does this by turning his horse around and traveling about fifty paces back and forth, repeating this two or three times; this shows to the other Indian that he is not for hostility, but for friendly relations. If the second Indian accepts this proffered overture of friendship, he indicates the same by locking the fingers of both hands as far as to the first joints, and in that position raises his hands and lets them rest on his forehead with the palms either in or out, indifferently, as if he were trying to shield his eyes from the excessive light of the sun. This implies, "I, too, am for peace," or "I accept your overture." (Sac, Fox, and Kickapoo I.) It is interesting in this connection to note the reception of Father Marquette by an Illinois chief who is reported to have raised his hands to his eyes as if to shield them from overpowering splendor. That action was supposed to be made in a combination of humility and admiration, and a pretended inability to gaze on the face of the illustrious guest has been taken to be the conception of the gesture, which in fact was probably only the holding the interlocked hands in the most demonstrative posture. An oriental gesture in which the flat hand is actually interposed as a shield to the eyes before a superior is probably made with the poetical conception erroneously attributed to the Indian.

The display of green branches to signalize friendly or pacific intentions does not appear to have been noticed among the North American Indians by trustworthy observers. Captain Cook makes frequent mention of it as the ceremonial greeting among islands he visited. See his Voyage toward the South Pole. London, 1784, Vol. II, pp. 30 and 35. Green branches were also waved, in signal of friendship by the natives of the island of New Britain to the members of the expedition in charge of Mr. Wilfred Powell in 1878. Proceedings of the Royal Geological Society, February, 1881, p. 89.


—— Stand there! he is coming this way.

Grasp the end of the blanket or robe; wave it downward several times. (Omaha I.)

—— To inquire disposition.

Wave the folded blanket to the right and left in front of the body, then point toward the person or persons approaching, and carry it from a horizontal position in front of the body rapidly downward and upward several times. (Dakota I.)


Wave the blanket directly in front of the body upward and downward several times. Many of anything. (Dakota I.)


Motion of spreading a real or imaginary robe or skin on the ground. Noticed by Lewis and Clark on their first meeting with the Shoshoni in 1805. (Lewis and Clark's Travels, &c., London, 1817, vol. ii, p. 74.) This signal is more particularly described as follows: Grasp the blanket by the two corners with the hands, throw it above the head, allowing it to unfold as it falls to the ground as if in the act of spreading it.


The ordinary manner of opening communication with parties known or supposed to be hostile is to ride toward them in zigzag manner, or to ride in a circle. (Custer's My Life on the Plains, loc. cit., p. 58.)

This author mentions (p. 202) a systematic manner of waving a blanket, by which the son of Satana, the Kaiowa chief, conveyed information to him, and a similar performance by Yellow Bear, a chief of the Arapahos (p. 219), neither of which he explains in detail.

—— I do not know you. Who are you?

Point the folded blanket at arm's length toward the person, and then wave it toward the right and left in front of the face. You—I don't know. Take an end of the blanket in each hand, and extend the arms to full capacity at the sides of the body, letting the other ends hang down in front of the body to the ground, means, Where do you come from? or who are you? (Dakota I.)



Hold the folded blanket or a piece of cloth high above the head. "This really means 'I want to die right now.'" (Dakota I.)


Take an end of the blanket in each hand, extend the arms at the sides of the body, allowing the blanket to hang down in front of the body, and then wave it in a circular manner. (Dakota I.)


Those noted consist of SMOKE, FIRE, or DUST signals.


They [the Indians] had abandoned the coast, along which bale-fires were left burning and sending up their columns of smoke to advise the distant bands of the arrival of their old enemy. (Schoolcraft's History, &c., vol. iii, p. 35, giving a condensed account of De Soto's expedition.)

"Their systems of telegraphs are very peculiar, and though they might seem impracticable at first, yet so thoroughly are they understood by the savages that it is availed of frequently to immense advantage. The most remarkable is by raising smokes, by which many important facts are communicated to a considerable distance and made intelligible by the manner, size, number, or repetition of the smokes, which are commonly raised by firing spots of dry grass." (Josiah Gregg's Commerce of the Prairies. New York, 1844, vol. ii, p. 286.)

The highest elevations of land are selected as stations from which signals with smoke are made. These can be seen at a distance of from twenty to fifty miles. By varying the number of columns of smoke different meanings are conveyed. The most simple as well as the most varied mode, and resembling the telegraphic alphabet, is arranged by building a small fire, which is not allowed to blaze; then by placing an armful of partially green grass or weeds over the fire, as if to smother it, a dense white smoke is created, which ordinarily will ascend in a continuous vertical column for hundreds of feet. Having established a current of smoke, the Indian simply takes his blanket and by spreading it over the small pile of weeds or grass from which the smoke takes its source, and properly controlling the edges and corners of the blanket, he confines the smoke, and is in this way able to retain it for several moments. By rapidly displacing the blanket, the operator is enabled to cause a dense volume of smoke to rise, the length or shortness of which, as well as the number and frequency of the columns, he can regulate perfectly, simply by a proper use of the blanket. (Custer's My life on the Plains, loc. cit., p. 187.)

They gathered an armful of dried grass and weeds, which were placed and carried upon the highest point of the peak, where, everything being in readiness, the match was applied close to the ground; but the blaze was no sooner well lighted and about to envelop the entire amount of grass collected than it was smothered with the unlighted portion. A slender column of gray smoke then began to ascend in a perpendicular column. This was not enough, as it might be taken for the smoke rising from a simple camp-fire. The smoldering grass was then covered with a blanket, the corners of which were held so closely to the ground as to almost completely confine and cut off the column of smoke. Waiting a few moments, until the smoke was beginning to escape from beneath, the blanket was suddenly thrown aside, when a beautiful balloon-shaped column puffed up ward like the white cloud of smoke which attends the discharge of a field-piece. Again casting the blanket on the pile of grass, the column was interrupted as before, and again in due time released, so that a succession of elongated, egg-shaped puffs of smoke kept ascending toward the sky in the most regular manner. This bead-like column of smoke, considering the height from which it began to ascend, was visible from points on the level plain fifty miles distant. (Ib., p. 217.)

* * * * *

The following extracts are made from Fremont's First and Second Expeditions, 1842-3-4, Ex. Doc., 28th Cong. 2d Session, Senate, Washington, 1845:

"Columns of smoke rose over the country at scattered intervals—signals by which the Indians here, as elsewhere, communicate to each other that enemies are in the country," p. 220. This was January 18, 1844, in the vicinity of Pyramid Lake, and perhaps the signalists were Pai-Utes.

"While we were speaking, a smoke rose suddenly from the cottonwood grove below, which plainly told us what had befallen him [Tabeau]; it was raised to inform the surrounding Indians that a blow had been struck, and to tell them to be on their guard," p. 268, 269. This was on May 5, 1844, near the Rio Virgen, Utah, and was narrated of "Diggers," probably Chemehuevas.


This is made by sending upward one column of smoke from, a fire partially smothered by green grass. This is only used by previous agreement, and if seen by friends of the party, the signal is answered in the same manner. But should either party discover the presence of enemies, no signal would be made, but the fact would be communicated by a runner. (Dakota I.)


Whenever a war party, consisting of either Pima, Papago, or Maricopa Indians, returned from an expedition into the Apache country, their success was announced from the first and most distant elevation visible from their settlements. The number of scalps secured was shown by a corresponding number of columns of smoke, arranged in a horizontal line, side by side, so as to be distinguishable by the observers. When the returning party was unsuccessful, no such signals were made. (Pima and Papago I.) Fig. 339. A similar custom appears to have existed among the Ponkas, although the custom has apparently been discontinued by them, as shown in the following proper name: Cu-de ga-xe, Smoke maker: He who made a smoke by burning grass returning from war.


The following information was obtained by Dr. W.J. HOFFMAN from the Apache chiefs named on page 407, under the title of TINNEAN, (Apache I):

The materials used in making smoke of sufficient density and color consist of pine or cedar boughs, leaves and grass, which can nearly always be obtained in the regions occupied by the Apaches of Northern New Mexico. These Indians state that they employ but three kinds of signals, each of which consists of columns of smoke, numbering from one to three or more.


This signal is made by causing three or more columns of smoke to ascend, and signifies danger or the approach of an enemy, and also requires the concentration of those who see them. These signals are communicated from one camp to another, and the most distant bands are guided by their location. The greater the haste desired the greater the number of columns of smoke. These are often so hastily made that they may resemble puffs of smoke, and are caused by throwing heaps of grass and leaves upon the embers again and again.


This signal is generally made by producing one continuous column, and signifies attention for several purposes, viz, when a band had become tired of one locality, or the grass may have been consumed by the ponies, or some other cause necessitated removal, or should an enemy be reported, which would require farther watching before a decision as to future action would be made. The intention or knowledge of anything unusual would be communicated to neighboring bands by causing one column of smoke to ascend.


When a removal of camp has been made, after the signal for ATTENTION has been given, and the party have selected a place where they propose to remain until there may be a necessity or desire for their removal, two columns of smoke are made, to inform their friends that they propose to remain at that place. Two columns are also made at other times during a long continued residence, to inform the neighboring bands that a camp still exists, and that all is favorable and quiet.


The following examples of smoke signals in foreign lands are added for comparison.

Miss Haigh, speaking of the Guanches of the Canary Islands at the time of the Spanish conquest, says: "When an enemy approached, they alarmed the country by raising a thick smoke or by whistling, which was repeated from one to another. This latter method is still in use among the people of Teneriffe, and may be heard at an almost incredible distance." (Trans. Eth. Soc. Lond. vii, 1869, sec. ser., pp. 109, 110.)

"The natives have an easy method of telegraphing news to their distant friends. When Sir Thomas Mitchell was traveling through Eastern Australia he often saw columns of smoke ascending through the trees in the forests, and he soon learned that the natives used the smoke of fires for the purpose of making known his movements to their friends. Near Mount Frazer he observed a dense column of smoke, and subsequently other smokes arose, extending in a telegraphic line far to the south, along the base of the mountains, and thus communicating to the natives who might be upon his route homeward the tidings of his return.

"When Sir Thomas reached Portland Bay he noticed that when a whale appeared in the bay the natives were accustomed to send up a column of smoke, thus giving timely intimation to all the whalers. If the whale should be pursued by one boat's crew only it might be taken; but if pursued by several, it would probably be run ashore and become food for the blacks." (Smyth, loc. cit., vol. 1, pp. 152, 153, quoting Maj. T.L. Mitchell's Eastern Australia, vol. ii, p. 241.)

Jardine, writing of the natives of Cape York, says that a "communication between the islanders and the natives of the mainland is frequent; and the rapid manner in which news is carried from tribe to tribe, to great distances, is astonishing. I was informed of the approach of Her Majesty's Steamer Salamander, on her last visit, two days before her arrival here. Intelligence is conveyed by means of fires made to throw up smoke in different forms, and by messengers who perform long and rapid journeys." (Smyth, loc. cit., vol. 1, p. 153, quoting from Overland Expedition, p. 85.)

Messengers in all parts of Australia appear to have used this mode of signaling. In Victoria, when traveling through the forests, they were accustomed to raise smoke by filling the hollow of a tree with green boughs and setting fire to the trunk at its base; and in this way, as they always selected an elevated position for the fire when they could, their movements were made known.

When engaged in hunting, when traveling on secret expeditions, when approaching an encampment, when threatened with danger, or when foes menaced their friends, the natives made signals by raising a smoke. And their fires were lighted in such a way as to give forth signals that would be understood by people of their own tribe and by friendly tribes. They exhibited great ability in managing their system of telegraphy; and in former times it was not seldom used to the injury of the white settlers, who at first had no idea that the thin column of smoke rising through the foliage of the adjacent bush, and raised perhaps by some feeble old woman, was an intimation to the warriors to advance and attack the Europeans. (R. Brough Smyth, F.L.S., F.G.S., The Aborigines of Victoria. Melbourne, 1878, vol. i, pp. 152, 153.)


"Travelers on the prairie have often seen the Indians throwing up signal lights at night, and have wondered how it was done.... They take off the head of the arrow and dip the shaft in gunpowder, mixed with glue.... The gunpowder adheres to the wood, and coats it three or four inches from its end to the depth of one-fourth of an inch. Chewed bark mixed with dry gunpowder is then fastened to the stick, and the arrow is ready for use. When it is to be fired, a warrior places it on his bowstring and draws his bow ready to let it fly; the point of the arrow is then lowered, another warrior lights the dry bark, and it is shot high in the air. When it has gone up a little distance, it bursts out into a flame, and burns brightly until it falls to the ground. Various meanings are attached to these fire-arrow signals. Thus, one arrow meant, among the Santees, 'The enemy are about'; two arrows from the same point, 'Danger'; three, 'Great danger'; many, 'They are too strong, or we are falling back'; two arrows sent up at the same moment, 'We will attack'; three, 'Soon'; four, 'Now'; if shot diagonally, 'In that direction.' These signals are constantly changed, and are always agreed upon when the party goes out or before it separates. The Indians send their signals very intelligently, and seldom make mistakes in telegraphing each other by these silent monitors. The amount of information they can communicate by fires and burning arrows is perfectly wonderful. Every war party carries with it bundles of signal arrows." (Belden, The White Chief; or Twelve Years among the Wild Indians of the Plains. Cincinnati and New York, 1871, pp. 106, 107.)

With regard to the above, it is possible that white influence has been felt in the mode of signaling as well as in the use of gunpowder, but it would be interesting to learn if any Indians adopted a similar expedient before gunpowder was known to them. They frequently used arrows, to which flaming material was attached, to set fire to the wooden houses of the early colonists. The Caribs were acquainted with this same mode of destruction as appears by the following quotation:

"Their arrows were commonly poisoned, except when they made their military excursions by night; on these occasions they converted them into instruments of still greater mischief; for, by arming the points with pledgets of cotton dipped in oil, and set on fire, they fired whole villages of their enemies at a distance." (Alcedo. The Geograph. and Hist. Dict. of America and the West Indies. Thompson's trans. London, 1812, Vol. I, p. 314.)


When an enemy, game, or anything else which was the special object of search is discovered, handfulls of dust are thrown into the air to announce that discovery. This signal has the same general signification as when riding to and fro, or, round in a circle on an elevated portion of ground, or a bluff. (Dakota VII, VII.)

When any game or any enemy is discovered, and should the sentinel be without a blanket, he throws a handful of dust up into the air. When the Brules attacked the Ponkas, in 1872, they stood on the bluff and threw up dust. (Omaha I; Ponka I.)

There appears to be among the Bushmen a custom of throwing up sand or earth into the air when at a distance from home and in need of help of some kind from those who were there. (Miss L.C. Lloyd, MS. Letter, dated July 10, 1880, from Charlton House, Mowbray, near Cape Town, Africa.)


The following information was obtained from WA-U[n]'(Bobtail), MO-HI'-NUK'-MA-HA'-IT (Big horse), Cheyennes, and O-QO-HIS'-SA (The Mare, better known as "Little Raven"), and NA'-WATC (Left Hand), Arapahos, chiefs and members of a delegation who visited Washington, D.C., in September, 1880, in the interest of their tribes dwelling in Indian Territory:

A party of Indians going on the war-path leave camp, announcing their project to the remaining individuals and informing neighboring friends by sending runners. A party is not systematically organized until several days away from its headquarters, unless circumstances should require immediate action. The pipe-bearers are appointed, who precede the party while on the march, carrying the pipes, and no one is allowed to cross ahead of these individuals, or to join the party by riding up before the head of the column, as it would endanger the success of the expedition. All new arrivals fall in from either side or the rear. Upon coming in sight of any elevations of land likely to afford a good view of the surrounding country the warriors come to a halt and secrete themselves as much as possible. The scouts who have already been selected, advance just before daybreak to within a moderate distance of the elevation to ascertain if any of the enemy has preceded them. This is only discovered by carefully watching the summit to see if any objects are in motion; if not, the flight of birds is observed, and if any should alight upon the hill or butte it would indicate the absence of anything that might ordinarily scare them away. Should a large bird, as a raven, crow, or eagle, fly toward the hill-top and make a sudden swerve to either side and disappear, it would indicate the presence of something sufficient to require further examination. When it is learned that there is reason to suspect an enemy the scout, who has all the time been closely watched by the party in the rear, makes a signal for them to lie still, signifying danger or caution. It is made by grasping the blanket with the right hand and waving it earthward from a position in front of and as high as the shoulder. This is nearly the same as civilized Americans use the hand for a similar purpose in battle or hunting to direct "lie quiet"!

Should the hill, however, be clear of any one, the Indian will ascend slowly, and under cover as much as possible, and gain a view of the country. If there is no one to be seen, the blanket is grasped and waved horizontally from right to left and back again repeatedly, showing a clear surface. If the enemy is discovered, the scout will give the alarm by running down the hill, upon a side visible to the watchers, in a zigzag manner, which communicates the state of affairs.

Should any expedition or advance be attempted at night, the same signals as are made with the blanket are made with a firebrand, which is constructed of a bunch of grass tied to a short pole.

When a war party encamps for a night or a day or more, a piece of wood is stuck into the ground, pointing in the direction pursued, with a number of cuts, notches, or marks corresponding to the number of days which the party spent after leaving the last camp until leaving the present camp, serving to show to the recruits to the main party the course to be followed, and the distance.

A hunting party in advancing takes the same precautions as a war party, so as not to be surprised by an enemy. If a scout ascends a prominent elevation and discovers no game, the blanket is grasped and waved horizontally from side to side at the height of the shoulders or head; and if game is discovered the Indian rides back and forth (from left to right) a short distance so that the distant observers can view the maneuver. If a large herd of buffalo is found, the extent traveled over in going to and fro increases in proportion to the size of the herd. A quicker gait is traveled when the herd is very large or haste on the part of the hunters is desired.

It is stated that these Indians also use mirrors to signal from one elevation to another, but the system could not be learned, as they say they have no longer use for it, having ceased warfare(?).


In the following pages the scheme of graphic illustration, intended both to save labor and secure accuracy, which was presented in the Introduction to the Study of Sign Language, is reproduced with some improvements. It is given for the use of observers who may not see that publication, the material parts of which being included in the present paper it is not necessary that the former should now be furnished. The TYPES OF HAND POSITIONS were prepared for reference by the corresponding letters of the alphabet to avoid tedious description, should any of them exactly correspond, or by alteration, as suggested in the note following them. These, as well as the OUTLINES OF ARM POSITIONS, giving front and side outline's with arms pendant, were distributed in separate sheets to observers for their convenience in recording, and this will still be cheerfully done when request is made to the present writer. When the sheets are not accessible the TYPES can be used for graphic changes by tracing the one selected, or by a few words indicating the change, as shown in the EXAMPLES. The OUTLINES OF ARM POSITIONS can also be readily traced for the same use as if the sheets had been provided. It is hoped that this scheme, promoting uniformity in description and illustration, will be adopted by all observers who cannot be specially addressed.

Collaborators in the gestures of foreign uncivilized peoples will confer a favor by sending at least one photograph or sketch in native costume of a typical individual of the tribe, the gestures of which are reported upon, in order that it may be reproduced in the complete work. Such photograph or sketch need not be made in the execution of any particular gesture, which can be done by artists engaged on the work, but would be still more acceptable if it could be so made.


The gestures, to be indicated by corrected positions of arms and by dotted lines showing the motion from the initial to the final positions (which, are severally marked by an arrow-head and a cross—see EXAMPLES), will always be shown as they appear to an observer facing the gesturer, the front outline, Fig. 340, or side, Fig. 341, or both, being used as most convenient. The special positions of hands and fingers will be designated by reference to the TYPES OF HAND POSITIONS. For brevity in the written description, "hand" may be used for "right hand," when that one alone is employed in any particular gesture. When more convenient to use the profile figure in which the right arm is exhibited for a gesture actually made by the left hand and arm it can be done, the fact, however, being noted.

In cases where the conception or origin of any sign is ascertained or suggested it should be annexed to the description, and when obtained from the gesturer will be so stated affirmatively, otherwise it will be considered to be presented by the observer. The graphic illustration of associated facial expression or bodily posture which may accentuate or qualify a gesture is necessarily left to the ingenuity of the contributor.


The following order of arrangement for written descriptions is suggested. The use of a separate sheet or part sheet of paper for each sign described and illustrated would be convenient in the collation. It should always be affirmatively stated whether the "conception or origin" of the sign was procured from the sign-maker, or is suggested or inferred by the observer.

_Word or idea expressed by Sign_: ___









_Date_: ____ 188_.

_____ _Observer_.


FIG. 342a.

FIG. 342b.


The positions are given as they appear to an observer facing the gesturer, and are designed to show the relations of the fingers to the hand rather than the positions of the hand relative to the body, which must be shown by the outlines (see OUTLINES OF ARM POSITIONS) or description. The right and left hands are figured above without discrimination, but in description or reference the right hand will be understood when the left is not specified. The hands as figured can also with proper intimation be applied with changes either upward, downward, or inclined to either side, so long as the relative positions of the fingers are retained, and when in that respect no one of the types exactly corresponds with a sign observed, modifications may be made by pen or pencil on that one of the types, or a tracing of it, found most convenient, as indicated in the EXAMPLES, and referred to by the letter of the alphabet under the type changed, with the addition of a numeral—e.g., A 1, and if that type, i.e., A, were changed a second time by the observer (which change would necessarily be drawn on another sheet of types or another tracing of a type selected when there are no sheets provided), it should be referred to as A 2.


Word or idea expressed by sign: To cut, with an ax.


With the right hand flattened (X changed to right instead of left), palm upward, move it downward to the left side repeatedly from different elevations, ending each stroke at the same point. Fig. 343.


From the act of felling a tree.

Word or idea expressed by sign: A lie.


Touch the left breast over the heart, and pass the hand forward from the mouth, the two first fingers only being extended and slightly separated (L, 1—with thumb resting on third finger, Fig. 344a). Fig. 344.



Word or idea expressed by sign: To ride.


Place the first two fingers of the right hand, thumb extended (N 1, Fig. 345a) downward, astraddle the first two joined and straight fingers of the left (T 1, Fig. 345b), sidewise, to the right, then make several short, arched movements forward with hands so joined. Fig. 345.


The horse mounted and in motion.

Word or idea expressed by signs: I am going home.


(1) Touch the middle of the breast with the extended index (K), then (2) pass it slowly downward and outward to the right, and when the hand is at arm's length, at the height of the shoulder, (3) clinch it (A) suddenly and throw it edgewise toward the ground. Fig. 346.


(1) I, personality; (2) motion and direction; (3) locality of my possessions—home.


The following indicative marks are used in the above examples:

...........Dotted lines indicate movements to place the hand and arm in position to commence the sign and not forming part of it.

—————-Short dashes indicate the course of hand employed in the sign, when made rapidly.

— — — —Longer dashes indicate a less rapid movement.

—— —— Broken lines represent slow movement.

> Indicates commencement of movement in representing sign, or part of sign.

X Represents the termination of movements.

[Symbol: Circle about a dot] Indicates the point in the gesture line at which the hand position is changed.


Abbreviations in signs, 338 Abnaki, Intelligence communicated by, 369 Absaroka, Tribal signs for, 458 Abstract ideas expressed in signs, 348 Actors, modern, Use of gestures by, 308 Addison, Gestures of orators, 294 Aeschylus, Theatrical gestures, 286 Affirmation, Sign for, 286, 454 Alarm, Signs for, 529, 538 Alaskan Indians, Dialogue between, 492 Alaskans, Sign language of the, 313 Alive, Sign for, 421 All together, Sign for, 523 Anger, Sign for, 301 , Signal for, 529 Antelope, Signs for, 410 Antiquity of gesture speech, 285 Apache pictographs connected with signs, 372 , Tribal signs for, 459 Apaches, Smoke signals of the, 538 Aphasia, Gestures in, 276 Applause, Signs for, 300 Application, Practical, of sign language, 346 Approbation, Sign for, 286 Arapaho, Tribal signs for, 460 Arbitrary signs, 340 Archaeologic research connected with sign language, 368 Argyle, Duke of, Gestures of Fuegans, 293 Arikara, Tribal signs for, 461 Arm positions, Outlines of, in sign language, 545 Arrangement in descriptions of signs, 546 Art, Modern Italian, exhibiting gestures, 292 Articulate speech, preceded by gesture, 274, 284 Artificial articulation, 275, 307 Asking, Signs for, 291, 297 Assinaboin, Tribal signs for, 461 Astute, Sign for, 305 Athenaeus, Account of Telestes, 286 , Classification of gestures, 285 Atsina, Tribal signs for, 462 Attention, Signal for, 539 Austin, Rev. Gilbert, Chironomia, 289 Australians, Gestures of, 306 Authorities in sign language, List of, 401 Ax, Sign for, 380 Bad, Signs for, 411 Banak, Tribal signs for, 462 Battle, Sign for, 419 Bear, Signs for, 412 Bede, The venerable, Treatise on gestures, 287 Bell, Prof. A. Graham, Vocal articulation of dogs, 275 Blackfeet, Tribal signs for, 462 Blind, Gestures of the, 278 Born, Signs for, 356 Bossu, M., Signs of the Atakapa, 324 Brave, Signs for, 352, 364, 414 Brother, Sign for, 521 Brule Dakota colloquy in signs, 491 Buffalo, Sign for, 488 Signals for, discovered, 532 Bushmann, J.C.E., Signs of Accocessaws, 324 Butler, Prof. James D., Italian signs, 408 Burton, Capt. R.F., Arapaho language, 314 Cabeca de Vaca, Signs of Timucuas, 324 Caddo, Tribal sign for, 464 Camp, Signals for, 532, 539 Capture, Sign for, 506 Chesterfield, Lord, Gestures of orators, 311 Cheyenne, Tribal signs for, 464 Chief, Signs for, 353, 416 Child, Signs for, 304, 356 Children, Gestures of young, 276 Chinese characters connected with signs, 356, 357 , Expedient of the, in place of signs, 306 Chinook jargon, 313 Chironomia, by Rev. Gilbert Austin, 289 Cistercian monks, Gestures of the, 288, 364 Clarke, Mr. Ben., Local source of sign language, 317 Classic pantomimes, 286 Cold, Signs for, 345, 486 Collaborators in sign language, List of, 401 Collecting signs, Suggestions for, 394 Comanche, Tribal signs for, 466 Come here, Signals for, 529, 532 Comedie Francaise, Gestures of the, 309 Comparison, Degrees of, in sign language, 363 Conjunctions in sign language, 367 Conventionality of signs, 333, 336, 340 Corbusier, Dr. William H., local source of sign language, 317 , Sign for strong, 304 Corporeal gestures generally, 270, 273 Correspondents, Foreign, on sign language, 407 Crafty, Sign for, 303 Cree, Tribal signs for, 466 Cresollius, Precedence of gestures, 282 Value of gestures, 280 Cut with an ax, Sign for, 550 Dakota calendar, 373, 377, 382, 384 , Tribal signs for, 467 Dalgarno, George, Gestures real writing, 355 , Works of, 284, 287 Danger, Signals for, 529, 532 Darwin, Charles, Analysis of emotional gestures, 270 , Gestures of Fuegans, 293 Day, Signs for, 371 Deaf and dumb, American annals of the, 293 Deaf-Mute College, National, Test of signs at the, 321 Deaf-mutes, Methodical signs of, 362 , Milan Convention on instruction of, 307 , Signs of instructed, 362, 397 , Signs of uninstructed, 277 , Sounds uttered by uninstructed, 277 Death, Signs for, 353, 420, 497 Deceit, Signs for, 303 Defiance, Signals for, 530 Denial of the existence of sign language, Mistaken, 326 Derision, Sign for, 301 Dialects, Numerous, connected with gesture language, 294, 306 Dialogues in sign language, 486 Dictionary of sign language, Extracts from, 409 Disappearing Mist, Account of, 327 Discontinuance of sign language, Circumstances connected with the, 312 Discourses in signs, 521 Discovery, Signals for, 533 Diversities in signs, Classes of, 341 Divisions of sign language, 270 Dodge, Col. Richard I., Abbreviations of signs, 339 , Identity of sign language, 316, 335 Dog, Signs for, 321, 387 Done, finished, Sign for, 513, 522, 528 Dorsey, Rev. J. Owen, Mistaken denial of signs, 326 Doubt, Sign for, 512 Drink, Sign for, 301, 344, 357 Dumas, Alexandra, Sicilian signs, 295 Dupe, Sign for, 305 Dust signals, 541 Eat, Sign for, 301, 480 Egyptian characters connected with signs, 304, 355, 357, 358, 359, 370, 379, 380 Emblems distinguished from signs, 389 Ethnologic facts connected with signs, 384 Etymology of words from gestures, 352 Evening, Signs for, 353 Evolution, distinguished from invention of sign language, 319, 388 Exchange, Signs for, 454 Facial expression generally, 270, 273 play, giving detailed information, 271 Fatigue, Sign for, 305 Fay, Prof. E.A., contributions on signs, 309, 408 Fear, Sign for, 506 Female, Signs for, 300, 357 Ferdinand, King of Naples, speech in signs, 294 Fingers, Details of position of, in sign language, 392 , Special significance in disposition of, by Italians, 285 Fire arrows, Signals by, 540 , Signs for, 344, 380 Flathead, Tribal signs for, 468 Fool, Signs for, 297, 303, 345, 505, 506 Foreign correspondents on sign language, 407 Fox, Tribal sign for, 468 Fremont, General J.C., Signs of Pai-Utes and Shoshonis, 324 Friend, friendship, Signs for, 384, 491, 527 Gallaudet, President T.H., Facial expression, 271 , President E.M., Test of Utes in signs, 321, 323 Gender in sign language, 366 Gestures as an occasional resource, 279 as survival of a sign language, 330 , blind, of the, 278 , Etymology of words from, 352 in mental disorder, 276 , Involuntary response to, 280 , fluent talkers, of, 279 Language not proportionate to development of, 293, 314 low tribes of men, of, 279 lower animals, of, 275 modern actors, used by, 308 modern orators, used by, 311 young children, of, 276 Gilbert, G.K., Pueblo etchings, 371, 372, 373 Glad, Sign for, 495 Good, Signs for, 424 Grammar, Sign language with reference to, 359 Grass, Sign for, 343 Greek vases, Figures on, explained by modern Italian gestures, 289, 290 Grow, Sign for, 343 Habitation, Signs for, 427 Haerne, Mgr. D. de, Works on sign language, 292 Hale, Horatio, Mohawk signs, 327 Halt! Signals for, 530, 535 Hand positions, Types of, 547 Hand-shaking, connected with signs, 385 Harpokrates, Erroneous character for, 304 Hear, Signs for, 376 Hento (Gray Eyes), Wyandot signs, 327 Heredity, Cases of, in speech, 276, 277 Hesitation, Signs for, 291 Hidatsa, Tribal signs for, 469 History of sign language, 285 Hoffman, Dr. W.J. Collaboration of, in sign language, 399 Holmes, W.H., Artistic aid of, 400 Home, Signs for, 483, 485 Homomorphy of signs with diverse meanings, 342 Horn sign, Italian, 298, 299 Horse, Signs for, 433 House, Signs for, 427 Humboldt, Signs of South Americans, 307 Hunger, Signs for, 304, 485 Illustration, Scheme of, in sign language, 544 Illustrations, Examples of, for collaboration on sign language, 550 Indian, generically, Signs for, 469 languages, Discussion of, 516 Indians, Condition of the, favorable to sign language, 311 , Theories respecting the signs of, 313 Innuits, Sign language of, 307 Inquiry, Signs for, 291, 297, 303, 447, 480, 486, 494 , Signals for, 531, 536 Insult, Sign of, 304 Interjectional cries, 283 Interrogation, Mark of, in sign language, 367 Invention of new signs in sign language, 387 Involuntary response to gestures, 280 Isolation, Loss of speech by, 278 Italians, Modern, Signs of, 285, 305 Jacker, Very Rev. Edward, Disuse of signs, 325 Jorio, The canon Andrea de, Works on sign language, 289 Joy, Signs for, 300 Justice, Sign for, 302 Kaiowa, Tribal signs for, 470 Keep, Rev. J. R., Syntax of Sign language, 360 Kickapoo, Tribal signs for, 470 Kill, Signs for, 377, 437 Kin chē-ĕss, Address of, 521 Knife, Sign for, 386 Kutine, Tribal signs for, 470 Language, Primitive, theories upon, 282 Lately, Signs for, 366 Lean Wolf's Complaint, in signs, 526 Leibnitz, Signs connected with philology, 349 syntax, 360 Leonardo da Vinci, 292 Lie, falsehood, Signs for, 345, 393, 550 Lightning, Signs for, 373 Lipan, Tribal sign for, 471 Loss of speech by isolation, 278 Love, Signs for, 345, 521 Low tribes of men, Gestures of, 279 Lower animals, Gestures of, 275 Lucian, de saltatione, 287 Man, Sign for, 416 Mandan, Tribal sign for, 471 Mano in fica, Neapolitan sign, 300 Many, Signs for, 445, 496, 524, 535 Marriage, Signs for, 290 Maya characters connected with signs, 356, 376 Medicine, Signs for, 386 Medicine-man, Signs for, 380 Mental disorder, Gestures in, 276 Methodical signs of deaf-mutes, 362 Mexican characters connected with signs, 357, 375, 377, 380, 382 Michaelius, Algonkin signs, 324 Milan convention on instruction of deafmutes, 307 Missouri River, Sign for, 477 Modern use of sign language, 293 Money, Sign for, 297 Moose, Sign for, 495 Moqui pictographs connected with signs, 371, 373 Morgan, Lewis H., Atsina signs, 312 Morse, E.S., Japanese signs, 442 Mother, Sign for, 479 Motions relative to parts of body in sign language, 393 Much, Signs for, 446 Mueller, Max, Theories relating to language, 277, 281, 283 Narratives in sign language, 500 Natci's narrative in signs, 500 National Deaf-Mute College, 321, 408 Natural pantomime, 280 signs, 307, 340 Na-wa-gi-jig's story in signs, 508 Neapolitan gestures and signs, 289, 296-305 Negation of affirmative in sign language, 391 , Signs for, 290, 299, 300, 304, 355, 440, 494 Night, Signs for, 358 Nothing, none, Signs for, 322, 355, 356, 443 Now, Signs for, 366 Occasional resource, Gestures as an, 279 Ojibwa dialogue in signs, 499 pictographs connected with signs, 371, 372, 376, 380, 381 , Tribal sign for, 472 Old man, Sign for, 338 Omaha colloquy in signs, 490 Onomatopeia, 283 Opposite, Signs for, 353 Opposition in sign language, 364 Oral language defined, 273 , primitive, 274 Orators, modern, Gestures used by, 311 Origin of sign language, 273 Osage, Tribal signs for, 472 Ouray, head chief of Utes, 315, 328 Pani, Tribal signs for, 472 Pantomime, Natural, 280 Pantomimes, Classic, 286 Partisan, Signs for, 384, 418 Patricio's narrative in signs, 505 Peace, Signals for, 530, 534, 535 , Signs for, 438 Pend d'Oreille, Tribal sign for, 473 Period, Mark of, in sign language, 368 Permanence of signs, 329 Peruvian characters connected with signs, 371 Philology, Relation of sign language to, 349 Phrases in sign language, 479 Pictographs connected with sign language, 368 Porter, Prof. Samuel, Thought without language, 277 Possession, Sign for, 484, 524 Powell, J.W., Indian orthography, 484 , Inflexions in Indian languages, 351 , Linguistic classification, 403 Prepositions in sign language, 367 Pretty, Signs for, 300 Primitive language, Theories upon, 282 oral language, 274 Prisoner, Sign for, 345 Proper names in sign language, 364, 476 Pueblo pictographs connected with signs, 373 , Tribal sign for, 473 Punctuation in sign language, 367 Quantity, Signs for, 291, 359, 445 Question, Signs for, 291, 297, 303, 447, 480, 486, 494 , Signals for, 531, 536 Quintilian, Antiquity of gesture language, 285 , Powers of gesture, 280 , Questioning by gesture, 449 , Rules for gesture, 285 Rabbit, Sign for, 321 Rabelais, Forced and mistaken signs, 338 , Head shaking, 441 , Primitive language, 282 , Sign for marriage, 290 , Signs addressed to women, 310 , Universal language, 287 Raffaelle, Attention to gestures, 292 Railroad cars, Sign for, 322 Rain myth, Signs for, 344, 357, 372 Rapport necessary in gestures, 310 Rejection, Signs for, 298, 299 Researches in sign language, how made, 395 Results sought in study of sign language, 346 Ride, Sign for, 551 Ruxton, 324 Sac, or Sanki, Tribal sign for, 473 Safety, Signals for, 536 Sahaptin, Tribal sign, for, 473 Same, similar, Sign for, 385 Sayce, Prof. A.H., Origin of language in gestures, 283, 284 Scocciare, Italian sign for, 298 Seraglio, mutes of the, Gestures of the, 307 Shawnee, Tribal sign for, 474 Sheepeater, Tribal signs for, 474 Shoshone, Tribal signs for, 474 Sibscota, Mutes of Seraglio, 307 Sicard, Abbe, Deaf mute signs, 277, 288, 362 Sicily, Gesture language in, 295 Sign language, Abstract ideas expressed in, 348 , Alaskans, of the, 513 , Antiquity of, 285 , Apache pictographs connected with, 372 , Archaeologic research connected with, 368 , Arrangement in description of signs in, 546 , Australian, 306 , Authorities in, list of, 401 , Chinese characters connected with, 356, 357 , Cistercian monks, of, 283, 364 , collaborators in, List of, 401 , comparison, Degrees of, in, 363 , Conjunctions in, 367 , Convention, not requiring, 334 , Corporeal gestures in, 270, 273 , correspondents, Foreign, on, 407 , deaf-mutes, of uninstructed, 277 , dialects, numerous, connected with, 294 , Dialogues in, 486 , Dictionary of, Extracts from, 409 , Discontinuance of, 312 , Discourses in, 521 , Egyptian characters connected with, 304, 355, 357-359, 370, 379, 380 , Emotional gestures in, 270 , Ethnologic facts connected with, 384 evolved rather than invented, 319 , Facial expression in, 270, 273 , fingers, Details of position of, in, 392, 547 , Gender in, 366 , Grammar connected with, 359 , hand positions, Types of, in, 547 , History of, 285 , illustration, Scheme of, in, 544 , Indian and deaf-mute, compared, 320 and foreign, compared, 319 Special and peculiar is the, 319 Indians, North American, Once universal among, 324-326 Conditions favorable to, 311 Innuits, of the, 307 , interrogation, Mark of, in, 367 , Invention of new signs in, 387 , Italians, modern, of, 285, 305 , languages, Indian, compared with, 351 , Maya characters connected with, 356, 376 , Mexican characters connected with, 357, 375, 377, 380, 382 , Mistaken denial of existence of, 326 , Modern use of, 293 , Modern use of, by other than North American Indians, 320 , Motions relative to parts of body in, 393, 545 , Narratives in, 500 , Negation or affirmative in, 391 , Ojibwa pictographs connected with, 371, 372, 380, 381 , Opposition in, 364 , Oral language not proportioned to development of, 293, 314 , Origin of, 273 , Origin of, from a particular tribe, 316 , Outlines of arm positions in, 545 , period, Mark of, in, 368 , Peruvian characters connected with, 371 , Phrases in, 479 , Pictographs connected with, 368 , Practical application of, 346 , preceded articulate speech, 274, 284 , Prepositions in, 367 , Prevalence of Indian system of, 323 , Proper names in, 364, 476 , Pueblo pictographs connected with, 373 , Punctuation, in, 367 , Philology, relation of, to, 349 , Researches, Mode in which made on, 395 , Resemblance to Indian languages, 351 , Results sought in the study of, 346 , Seraglio, of the mutes of the, 307 , Sicilian, 295 , Sociologic conditions connected with, 293, 304 , South American, 307 , Survival of, 306 , Syntax connected with, 359 , Tense in, 366 , Time in, 366 , Tribal signs in, 458 , writing, Origin of, connected with, 354 Signals, Apache, 534 , bodily action, Executed by, 529 , Cheyenne and Arapaho, 542 , Dust, 541 , Fire arrows used in, 540 , Foreign, 549 , Smoke, 536 when person signaling is not seen, 536 with objects in connection with personal action, 532 Signs, Abbreviation in, 338 , Arbitrary, 340 , Conventional, 333, 336, 340 deaf-mutes, of uninstructed, 277 , diversities in, Classes of, 341 , Forced, 336 , Homomorphy of, with diverse meanings, 342 , Mistaken, 336 , Natural, 307, 340 , Oral language, not proportioned to development of, 293, 314 , Permanence of, 329 , Power of, compared with speech, 347, 349 , Surviving in gesture, 330 , Symmorphs in, 343 , Synonyms in, 341 , Systematic use of, distinguished from uniformity of, 330 , Theories of Indians, respecting the, 313 Silence, Sign for, 304 Small, Sign for, 302 Smoke, Sign for, 343, 380 signals, 536 , Foreign, 539 Smyth, E. Brough, Australian, signs, 306, 408 Sociologic conditions connected with use of gestures, 293 Soldier, Signs for, 344, 449, 505 South Americans, Signs of, 307 Speak, speech, Signs for, 345, 373 Squirrel, Sign for, 321 Steamboat, Sign for, 388 Stone, Signs for, 386, 515 Stupidity, Signs for, 303 Submission, Signals for, 531 Suggestions for collecting signs, 394 Sun, Signs for, 344, 370 Sunrise, Sign for, 371 Surrender, Signals for, 531, 536 Surrounded, Signal for, 536 Suspicion, Sign for, 306 Swedenborg, Primitive language, 288 Symbols, distinguished from signs, 388 Symmorphs in signs, 343 Synonyms in signs, 341 Syntax, Sign language with reference to, 359 Talkers, fluent, Gestures of, 279 Tendoy-Huerito dialogue in signs, 486 Tennanah, Tribal sign for, 475 Tense in sign language, 336 Theft, Signs for, 292, 345 Time, in sign language, 386 , long, Sign for, 522 , Signs for, 350, 508 To-day, Signs for, 386 Trade, Signs for, 381, 450, 495 Tree, Signs for, 343, 496, 524 Tribal signs, 458 Trumbull, Dr. J. Hammond, Composition of Indian words, 351 Tso-di-a'-ko's Report, in signs, 524 Tylor, Dr. E.B., Sign language, 293, 320, 323 Uniformity of signs distinguished from their systematic use, 330 Ute, Tribal signs for, 475 Village, Signs for, 386 Vinci, Leonardo da, use of gestures, 292 Wagon, Sign for, 322 Want, Sign for, 344 Warning, Sign for, 301, 302 Washington, City of, Sign for, 470 Water, Signs for, 357, 494 White man, Signs for, 450, 469, 491, 000, 526 Whitney, Prof. W.D., Primitive speech, 283 Wichita, Tribal signs for, 476 Wilkins, Bishop, Philosophic language, 288 Williams, Mr. B.O., 326 Wiseman, Cardinal, Gesture of blind man, 278 , Italian signs, 408 Woman, Sign for, 497 Worthlessness, Sign for, 301 Writing, origin of, Gestures connected with the, 354 Wyandot, Tribal sign for, 476


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