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Abandon-All Right

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STAR.  Make the sign for NIGHT; then form a small incomplete circle with right thumb and index, and raise hand toward sky.  For brilliant star, snap index against Thumb to denote twinkling.

START. Make the sign for GO.

STAY.  Make the sign for SIT.

STEAL.  Hold extended left hand in front of left breast, back up, pass right 1 hand under and close to left hand, until right wrist is close to left palm, right index extended; then draw back the right hand, at same time crooking index.

STEAMBOAT (meaning: fire-boat). Make the sign for BOAT; then sign for FIRE, holding hand a little higher than the head.

STINGY.  Make the signs for HEART and FEW.

STONE. Make the sign for HARD, and indicate shape as of a boulder.


STORE.  Make signs for HOUSE and TRADE.


STRIKE.  Hold left flat hand out in front of left breast, back down; use right hand like a hatchet and strike palm of left.  Generally used to represent a blow given with a weapon.

STRIPED. Hold left arm as in SPOTTED; then draw palm of extended right hand from left to right across left forearm in various places.

STRONG. The sign for BRAVE was formerly used by many.   The later preference is to hold right fist above left fist and strike over and downwards with twisting motion, as though breaking a small stick.

SUGAR.  Touch the tongue with tip of right index; then make the sign for GOOD.

SUMMER. Make the sign for GRASS, holding hands very high. Some Indians also denote SUN passing overhead, and HOT.

SUN. Form, with index and thumb of right hand, an incomplete circle, space of one inch between tips; hold hand towards the east; then move it in a curve across the heavens towards the west.  Also used to denote the time of day.   (Right hand held towards left indicates eastward).

SUNDAY.  Make signs for DAY and MEDICINE.  Have seen Indians describe other days of the week by indicating so many days before or after Medicine Day.

SUNRISE. With right index and thumb make an incomplete circle, other fingers closed.  Hold arm horizontal pointing to left; then raise hand about a foot.

SUNSET--Opposite to SUNRISE.  With thumb and index of right hand forming an incomplete circle, extend right hand to right, about 1 foot above horizontal; then lower same 12 inches.

SUPERIOR.  In comparing two persons or things, place the two extended indexes side by side, pointing up, one held higher than the other, the highest representing the superior.  When one is superior to several, place index of right hand above extended thumb and four fingers of left.


SURPRISE. Make the sign for ASTONISH.

SURROUND.  Hold thumbs and indexes in semi-circle several inches apart and opposite each other; then bring them together to form a flat circle.


SWIM.  Make the sign for WATER; then strike the arms out well in front as though swimming.


TAIL. Place right 1 hand to rear of center of body, index finger pointing to rear and downwards.

TAKE.  Push the right 1 hand well out in front, to right of body, index extended, pointing to front; pull hand quickly towards body while curving index finger into a hook.

TALK.  A "little talk", or "one person talking to another", is expressed as follows: with nail of right index pressing against thumb, move hand a trifle to front and snap the index straight forward (these words "are thrown out").  Repeat motion.  For a council to "speak at length", hold right flat hand, back down, in front of mouth, and move hand outward a few inches; repeating the motion.

TALL.  Hold right hand as in STAND, but at full length of extended arm.

TANGLED. Move the hands, one about the other, with fingers slightly separated.

TASTE.  Touch the tongue with tip of right index.

TATTOO.  Compress the right hand, and tap with ends of fingers that portion of body which has been marked.

TEA.  Take the sign for TREE, for LEAF, for DRINK, and for GOOD.

Universal Indian Sign Language






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.