Wednesday, February 29, 2012

American Indian Sign Language and Symbols for "Chief"


American Indian Sign Language and Symbols for "Chief"
CHIEF.
The forefinger of the right hand extended, pass it perpendicularly downward, then turn it upward, and raise it in a right line as high as the head. (Long.) "Rising above others."
Raise the index finger of the right hand, holding it straight upward, then turn it in a circle and bring it straight down, a little toward the earth. (Wied.) The right hand is raised, and in position (J) describes a semicircle as in beginning the act of throwing. The arm is elevated perfectly erect aside of the head, the palm of the index and hand should be outward. There is an evident similarity in both execution and conception of this sign and Wied's; the little variation may be the result of different interpretation. The idea of superiority is most prominent in both. (Boteler.) "A prominent one before whom all succumb." The Arikaras understood this sign, and they afterwards used it in talking to me. (Creel.) Wied's air-picture reminds of the royal scepter with its sphere.
Raise the forefinger, pointed upwards, in a vertical direction, and then reverse both finger and motion; the greater the elevation the "bigger" the chief. (Arapaho I.)
Place the closed hand, with the index extended and pointing upward, near the right cheek, pass it upward as high as the head, then turn it forward and downward toward the ground, the movement terminating a little below the initial point. See Fig. 306 in Tendoy-Huerito Dialogue, p. 487. (Arapaho II; Cheyenne V; Ponka II; Shoshoni I.)
(1) Sign for Man, as follows: Right hand, palm inward, elevated to about the level of the breast, index carelessly pointing upward, suddenly pointed straight upward, and the whole hand moved a little forward, at the same time taking care to keep the back of the hand toward the person addressed; (2) middle, third, little finger, and thumb slightly closed [pg 417]together, forefinger pointing forward and downward; (3) curved motion made forward, outward, and downward. (Cheyenne II.) "He who stands still and commands," as shown by similarity of signs to sit here or stand here.
Extend the index, remaining fingers closed, and raise it to the right side of the head and above it as far as the arm can reach. Have also seen the sign given by Wyandot I. (OjibwaV.)
The extended forefinger of the right hand (J), of which the other fingers are closed, is raised to the right side of the head and above it as far as the arm can be extended, and then the hand is brought down in front of the body with the wrist bent, the back of hand in front and the extended forefinger pointing downward. (Dakota I.) "Raised above others."
Move the upright and extended right index, palm forward, from the shoulder upward as high, as the top of the head, then forward six inches through a curve, and move it forward six inches, and then downward, its palm backward, to the height of the shoulder. An Arapaho sign, Above all others. He looks over or after us. (Dakota IV.)
Elevate the extended index before the shoulder, palm forward, pass it upward as high as the head, and forming a short curve to the front, then downward again slightly to the front to before the breast and about fifteen inches from it. (Dakota VI, VII, VIII; Hidatsa I; Arikara I.)
Right hand closed, forefinger pointing up, raise the hand from the waist in front of the body till it passes above the head. (Omaha I.)
Another: Bring the closed right hand, forefinger pointing up, on a level with the face; then bring the palm of the left hand with force against the right forefinger; next send up the right hand above the head, leaving the left as it is. (Omaha I.)
The right arm is extended by side of head, with the hand in position (J). The arm and hand then descend, the finger describing a semicircle with the arm as a radius. The sign stops with arm hanging at full length. (Oto I.) "The arm of authority before whom all must fall."
Both hands elevated to a position in front of and as high as the shoulders, palms facing, fingers and thumbs spread and slightly curved; the hands are then drawn outward a short distance towards their respective sides and gently elevated as high as the top of the head. (Wyandot I.) "One who is elevated by others."
Elevate the closed hand—index only extended and pointing upward—to the front of the right side of the face or neck or shoulder; pass it quickly upward, and when as high as the top of the head, direct it forward and downward again toward the ground. (Kaiowa I; Comanche III; Apache II; Wichita II.) [pg 418]Close the right hand, index raised, extended, and placed before the breast, then move it forward from the mouth, pointing forward, until at arm's length. (Ute I.)
——, Head, of tribe.
Place the extended index, pointing upward, at some distance before the right shoulder, then place the left hand, with fingers and thumb extended and separated, just back of the index; then in passing the index upward as high as the head, draw the left hand downward a short distance, as in Fig. 244. Superior to others. (Absaroka I; Arikara I.)
Place both flat hands before the body, palms down, and pass them horizontally outward toward their respective sides, then make the sign for Chief. (Arikara I.) "Chief of the wide region and those upon it."
Chief. Head of tribe. AbsarokaFig. 244.
After pointing out the man, point to the ground, all fingers closed except first (J 1, pointing downward in stead of upward), then point upward with same hand (J 2), then move hand to a point in front of body, fingers extended, palm downward (W 1), and move around horizontally. (Sahaptin I.) "In this place he is head over all."
Chief. Head of tribe. Pai-UteFig. 245.
Grasp the forelock with the right hand, palm backward, pass the hand upward about six inches and hold it in that position a moment. (Pai-Ute I.) Fig 245.
Elevate the extended index vertically above and in front of the head, holding the left hand, forefinger pointing upward, from one to two feet below and underneath the right, the position of the left, either elevated or depressed, also denoting the relative position of the second individual to that of the chief. (Apache I.)
——, War. Head of a war party; Partisan.
First make the sign of the pipe; then open the thumb and index finger of the right hand, back of the hand outward, moving it forward and upward in a curve. (Wied.) For remarks upon this sign see page 384.
[pg 419]
Place the right hand, index only extended and pointing forward and upward, before the right side of the breast nearly at arm's length, then place the left hand, palm forward with fingers spread and extended, midway between the breast and the right hand. (Arapaho II;Cheyenne V; Ponka II; Pani I.)
First make the sign for Battle, viz: Both hands (A 1) brought to the median line of the body on a level with the breast and close together; describe with both hands at the same time a series of circular movements of small circumference; and then add the sign for Chief, (Dakota I.) "First in battle."
—— of a band.
Point toward the left and front with the extended forefinger of the left hand, palm down; then place the extended index about twelve inches behind the left hand, pointing in the same direction. (Arapaho II; Cheyenne V; Ponka II; Pani I.)
Chief of a band. Absaroka and ArikaraFig. 246.
Place the extended index at some distance before the right shoulder, pointing forward and slightly upward, then place the left hand with fingers and thumb extended and separated over the index, and while pushing the index to the front, draw the left hand backward toward body and to the left. Ahead of others. (Absaroka I; Arikara I.) Fig. 246.
Point the extended index forward and upward before the chest, then place the spread fingers of the left hand around the index, but at a short distance behind it, all pointing the same direction. Ahead of the remainder. (Arikara I.)
Chief of a band. Pai-UteFig. 247.
Grasp the forelock with the right hand, palm backward, and pretend to lay the hair down over the right side of the head by passing the hand in that direction. (Pai-Ute I.) Fig. 247.
The French deaf-mute sign for order, command, maybe compared with several of the above signs. In it the index tip first touches the lower lip, then is raised above the head and brought down with violence. (L'enseignment primaire des sourds-muets; par M. PĂ©lissier. Paris, 1856.)
[pg 420]
Not only in Naples, but, according to De Jorio, in Italy generally the conception of authority in gesture is by pressing the right hand on the flank, accompanied by an erect and squared posture of the bust with the head slightly inclined to the right. The idea of substance is conveyed.
Warrior. Absaroka, etc.Fig. 248.
——, Warrior lower than actual, but distinguished for bravery.
Place the left forefinger, pointing toward the left and front, before the left side of the chest, then place the extended index near (or against) the forefinger, and, while passing the latter outward toward the left, draw the index toward the right. (Absaroka I; Arikara I; Shoshoni I.) Fig. 248.