Wednesday, February 29, 2012

American Indian Sign Language for "House" "Tipi" "Wigwam"

The hand half open and the forefinger extended and separated; then raise the hand upward and give it a half turn, as if screwing something. (Dunbar.)
[pg 428]
Cross the ends of the extended fingers of the two hands, the hands to be nearly at right angle, radial side up, palms inward and backward, thumbs in palms. Represents the logs at the end of a log house. (CreelDakota IV.)
Partly fold the hands; the fingers extended in imitation of the corner of an ordinary log house. (Arapaho I.)
Both hands outspread near each other, elevated to front of face; suddenly separated, turned at right angles, palms facing; brought down at right angles, suddenly stopped. Representing square form of a house. (Cheyenne II.)
The fingers of both hands extended and slightly separated, then those of the right are placed into the several spaces between those of the left, the tips extending to about the first joints. (Absaroka I.) "From the arrangement of the logs in a log building."
Both hands extended, fingers spread, place those of the right into the spaces between those of the left, then move the hands in this position a short distance upward. (Wyandot I.) "Arrangement of logs and elevation."
Log house. HidatsaFig. 253.
Both hands are held edgewise before the body, palms facing, spread the fingers, and place those of one hand into the spaces between those of the other, so that the tips of each protrude about an inch beyond. (Hidatsa I; Kaiowa I; Arikara I; Comanche III;Apache II; Wichita II.) "The arrangement of logs in a frontier house." Fig. 253. In connection with this sign compare the pictograph, Fig. 204, page 379supra. In ordinary conversation the sign for white man's house is often dropped, using instead the generic term employed for lodge, and this in turn is often abbreviated, as by the Kaiowas, Comanches, Wichitas, and others, by merely placing the tips of the extended forefingers together, leaving the other fingers and thumbs closed, with the wrists about three or four inches apart.
Both hands held pointing forward, edges down, fingers extended and slightly separated, then place the fingers of one hand into the spaces [pg 429]between the fingers of the other, allowing the tips of the fingers of either hand to protrude as far as the first joint, or near it. (Shoshoni and Banak I.) "From the appearance of a corner of a log house—protruding and alternate layers of logs."
Fingers of both hands interlaced at right angles several times; then the sign for Lodge. (Kutchin I.)
Deaf-mute natural signs:
Draw the outlines of a house in the air with hands tip to tip at a right angle. (Ballard.)
Put the open hands together toward the face, forming a right angle with the arms. (Larson.)
——, Stone; Fort.
Strike the back of the right fist against the palm of the left hand, the left palm backward, the fist upright ("idea of resistance or strength"); then with both hands opened, relaxed, horizontal, and palms backward, place the ends of the right fingers behind and against the ends of the left; then separate them, and moving them backward, each through a semicircle, bring their bases together. The latter sign is also that of the Arapahos for house. An inclosure. (Dakota IV.) The first part of this sign is that for stone.
The two hands are reared together in the form of the roof of a house, the ends of the fingers upward. (Long.)
Place the opened thumb and forefinger of each hand opposite each other, as if to make a circle, but leaving between them a small interval; afterward move them from above downward simultaneously (which is the sign for village); then elevate the finger to indicate the number—one. (Wied.) Probably he refers to an earthen lodge. I think that the sign I have given you is nearly the same with all the Upper Missouri Indians. (Matthews.)
Place the fingers of both hands ridge-fashion before the breast. (Burton.)
Indicate outlines (an inverted V, thus ^), with the forefingers touching or crossed at the tips, the other fingers closed. (CreelArapaho I.)
Both hands open, fingers upward, tips touching, brought downward, and at same time separated to describe outline of a cone, suddenly stopped. (Cheyenne II.)
Both hands approximated, held forward horizontally, fingers joined and slightly arched, backs upward, withdraw them in a sideward and downward direction, each hand moving to its corresponding side, thus [pg 430]combinedly describing a hemisphere. Carry up the right and, with its index pointing downward indicate a spiral line rising upward from the center of the previously formed arch. (Ojibwa V.) "From the dome-shaped form of the wigwam, and the smoke rising from the opening in the roof."
Both hands flat and extended, placing the tips of the fingers of one against those of the other, leaving the palms or wrists about four inches apart. (Absaroka I; Wyandot I; Shoshoni and Banak I.) "From its exterior outline."
Both hands carried to the front of the breast and placed V-shaped, inverted, thus ^, with the palms, looking toward each other, edge of fingers outward, thumbs inward. (DakotaI.) "From the outline of the tipi."
With the hands nearly upright, palms inward, cross the ends of the extended forefingers, the right one either in front or behind the left, or lay the ends together; resting the ends of the thumbs together side by side, the other fingers to be nearly closed, and resting against each other, palms inward. Represents the tipi poles and the profile of the tipi. (Dakota IV.)
Lodge. DakotaFig. 254.
Place the tips of the fingers of both hands together in front of the breast, with the wrists some distance apart. (Dakota V.) Fig. 254.
Fingers of both hands extended and separated; then interlace them so that the tips of the fingers of one hand protrude beyond the backs of those of the opposing one; hold the hands in front of the breast, pointing upward, leaving the wrists about six inches apart. (Dakota VII, VIII; Hidatsa I; Ponka II;Arikara I; Pani I.)
The extended hands, with finger tips upward and touching, the palms facing one another, and the wrists about two inches apart, are held before the chest. (Mandan and Hidatsa I.)
Place the tip of the index against the tip of the forefinger of the left hand, the remaining fingers and thumbs closed, before the chest, leaving the wrists about six inches apart. (Kaiowa I; Comanche III;Apache II; Wichita II.) "Outline of lodge." This is an abbreviated sign, and care must be taken to distinguish it from to meet, in which the fingers are brought from their respective sides instead of upward to form the gesture.
Another: Place the tips of the fingers of the flat extended hands together before the breast, leaving the wrists about six inches apart. (Kaiowa I; Comanche III; Apache II; WichitaII.)
[pg 431]
Lodge. Kaiowa, etc.Fig. 255.
Another: Both hands flat and extended, fingers slightly separated; then place the fingers of the right hand between the fingers of the left as far as the second joints, so that the fingers of one hand protrude about an inch beyond those of the other; the wrists must be held about six inches apart. (Kaiowa I; Comanche III; Apache II; Wichita II.) "Outline of Indian lodge and crossing of tent-poles above the covering." Fig. 255.
Lodge. SahaptinFig. 256.
Fig. 256 represents a Sahaptin sign given to the writer by a gentleman long familiar with the northwestern tribes of Indians. The conception is the same union of the lodge poles at the top, shown in several other signs, differently executed.
Lodge. Pai-UteFig. 258.
Lodge. Pai-UteFig. 257.
Place the tips of the spread fingers of both hands against one another pointing upward before the body, leaving a space of from four to six inches between the wrists. Fig. 257. The fingers are sometimes bent so as to more nearly represent the outline of a house and roof. Fig. 258. This, however, is accidental. (Pai-Ute I.) "Represents the boughs and branches used in the construction of a Pai-Ute 'wik-i-up.'"
Place the tips of the two flat hands together before the body, leaving a space of about six inches between the wrists. (Ute I.) "Outline of the shape of the lodge."
Lodge. KutchinFig. 259.
Left hand and right hand put together in shape of sloping shelter (Kutchin I.) Fig. 259.
—— Great Council House.
Place both flat and extended hands in front of the shoulders, pointing forward, palms facing; then pass them straight upward and slightly inward near the termination of the gesture. This appears to combine the gestures for muchlarge, andlodge. (Arikara I.)
——, Coming or going out of a.
Same as the sign for entering a lodge, only the fingers of the right hand point obliquely upward after passing under the left hand. (Dakota I.) "Coming out from under cover."
Hold the open left hand a foot or eighteen inches in front of the breast, palm downward or backward, fingers pointing toward the right [pg 432]and pass the right, back upward, with index extended, or all of the fingers extended, and pointing forward, about eighteen inches forward underneath the left through an arc from near the mouth. Some at the same time move the left hand toward the breast. (Dakota IV.)
——, Entering a.
The left hand is held with the back upward, and the right hand also with the back up is passed in a curvilinear direction down under the other, so as to rub against its palm, then up on the other side of it. The left hand here represents the low door of the skin lodge and the right the man stooping down to pass in, (Long.)
Pass the flat right hand in short curves under the left, which is held a short distance forward. (Wied.) I have described the same sign. It is not necessary to pass the hand more than once. By saying curves, he seems to imply many passes. If the hand is passed more than once it means repetition of the act. (Matthews; McChesney.) The conception is of the stooping to pass through the low entrance, which is often covered by a flap of skin, sometimes stretched on a frame, and which must be shoved aside, and the subsequent rising when the entrance has been accomplished. A distinction is reported by a correspondent as follows: "If the intention is to speak of a person entering the gesturer's own lodge, the right hand is passed under the left and toward the body, near which the left hand is held; if of a person entering the lodge of another, the left hand is held further from the body and the right is passed under it and outward. In both cases both hands are slightly curved and compressed." As no such distinction is reported by others it may be an individual invention or peculiarity.
A gliding movement of the extended hand, fingers joined, backs up, downward, then ascending, indicative of the stooping and resumption of the upright position in entering the same. (Arapaho I.)
(1) Sign for Lodge, the left hand being still in position used in making sign for Lodge; (2) forefinger and thumb of right hand brought to a point and thrust through the outline of an imaginary lodge represented by the left hand. (Cheyenne II.)
First make the sign for Lodge, then place the left hand, horizontal and slightly arched, before the body, and pass the right hand with extended index underneath the left—forward and slightly upward beyond it. (Absaroka I; Dakota V; Shoshoni and Banak I; Wyandot I.)
Left hand (W), ends of fingers toward the right, stationary in front of the left breast; pass the right hand directly and quickly out from the breast under the stationary left hand, ending with the extended fingers of the right hand pointing outward and slightly downward, joined, palm downward flat, horizontal (W). (Dakota I.) "Gone under; covered."
[pg 433]
Hold the open left hand a foot or eighteen inches in front of the breast, palm downward or backward, fingers pointing toward the right, and pass the right hand, palm upward, fingers bent sidewise and pointing backward, from before backward underneath it, through a curve until near the mouth. Some at the same time move the left hand a little forward. (DakotaIV.)
The left hand, palm downward, finger-tips forward, either quite extended or with the fingers slightly bent, is held before the body. Then the right hand nearly or quite extended, palm downward, finger-tips near the left thumb, and pointing toward it, is passed transversely under the left hand and one to four inches below it. The fingers of the right hand point slightly upward when the motion is completed. This sign usually, but not invariably, refers to entering a house. (Mandan and Hidatsa I.)
Place the slightly curved left hand, palm down, before the breast, pointing to the right, then pass the flat right hand, palm down, in a short curve forward, under and upward beyond the left. (Ute I.) "Evidently from the manner in which a person is obliged to stoop in entering an ordinary Indian lodge."