COUNCIL (meaning: sitting in a circle and talking). Closed hands well out in front of body, little fingers touching, move hands in horizontal circle towards body to meet with backs to body--then add TALK to right and left.
COUNTING. The system of tens is universally used by our Indians in enumeration. In counting from one to ten, the usual way is to hold the closed right hand in front, the back towards and about height of shoulder, edges of hand pointing up; for one, the little finger is extended; two, the third; three, second; four, index; five, thumb; keeping fingers extended, separated, and pointing upwards; six, bring the closed left hand at same height, equally advanced, and near right, and extend the thumb; seven, extend left index; eight, second finger; nine, third finger; ten, little finger.
For twenty, open and close both hands twice.
Many tribes indicate a number of tens by first making the sign for ten, then hold extended left hand horizontally in front of body, and draw the tip of extended right index from base over the back of each finger to its tip, each motion of this kind representing ten and going as far as fifty; then holding the right hand in similar manner, mark the backs of its thumb and fingers with tip of left index to indicate from sixty to one hundred.
For counting hundreds hold up both 5 hands with both thumbs touching, hands held near right shoulder; then swing in a circle across to left and downwards.
A number of hundreds are counted on backs of hands same as in counting tens, first indicating that you are now dealing with hundreds.
COUNTRY. Make signs by pointing to the ground with right 1 hand; then spread both hands low to right and left.
COWARD. Point to or make sign for the person, and then make sign for AFRAID.
COYOTE. Make sign for WOLF and for SMALL.
CRAZY (meaning: brain in a whirl). Bring compressed right hand pointing upwards close to forehead. Turn the hand so as to make small horizontal circle, turning up-wards to left with the sun. (To turn to right would mean MEDICINE).
CROSS (meaning: sulky). Make the signs HEART and BAD
CROSS (meaning to cross a stream). Make the sign ACROSS.
CROW--Indian. Two signs have been used in this connection, for that in most general use sign BIRD and INDIAN. A less used sign as follows: first make the sign for INDIAN, then hold fist above forehead, palm out, to indicate their manner of dressing the hair, i. e., pompadour.
CRY (meaning: tears). With both 1 hands at eyes indicate that tears are flowing by tracing their course down the face.
CUNNING. Make sign for WOLF.
CUTTING UP. With flat left hand, back upwards, held in front of left breast, use right flat hand as though to cut slice off palm of left, and repeat.
DAKOTA--Indians. (See SIOUX.)
DAM. Make sign for RIVER, and for HOLD.
DANCE (meaning: hopping action). Place both 5 hands in front of breast, pointing up, palms 6 inches apart; move up and down 3 inches, for 2 or 3 times.
DANGEROUS. With respect to a person, make the signs HEART and BAD. If of a place, specify in what way it is dangerous.
DARK. Make sign for NIGHT and SAME; or hold extended hands in front of and close to eyes.
DAUGHTER. Make the sign for FEMALE, then with right compressed hand held upright indicate the height of girl.
DAY. Hold level flat hands, backs up, in front of face, and 4 inches apart; sweep hands up and out in a curve, ending opposite shoulders with palms up. For TODAY, first make sign NOW.
DAYBREAK. Place both extended hands, backs out, in same horizontal plane, right hand above with little finger touching left index; then raise the right hand a few inches.
DEAD. Make signs for DIE and SLEEP.
DEAF. Press palm of flat right hand against right ear; then make small circular motion with hand close to car, and sign NO.
DECEIVE (meaning: he gives the lie). Make sign for GIVE and for LIE.
DEEP. To show depth of river or water, make sign for RIVER or WATER; then point downwards. If depth is slight, place hand on person to show how far the water rises on person or horse.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.