Bear - move the hands down from the forehead in imitation of a bear about to use his fearsome claws.
Beaver - hold the left hand a short distance from the chest, palm down. Then do the same with the right hand, holding it slightly lower. Raise the right hand, then lower it to suggest a beaver slapping its tail to the ground.
Bird - place the hands horizontally at shoulder level, palms down. Imitate the beating of wings, If it concerns small birds, wave the hands briskly. For large birds wave them more gently.
Bison - hold both hands closed, with only the index finger pointing, and thumbs touching the joints of the middle fingers. Bring the hands to both sides of the head at the level of the temples, and raise them slightly until the wrists are above the head. Then gently move them forward.
Cat - with the tips of the right thumb and index finger together, touch the nose. Then move the right hand away slowly from the face, keeping the fingers in the same position. Then indicate the size of the animal.
Cow - hold the left hand closed, thumb pointing down. Grasp the thumb with the right hand and pretend you are milking a cow. Repeat this several times.
Coyote - make the signs for wolf and little
Crow - make the sign for bird then point to something that is black in color.
Deer - symbolize the animal's antlers by holding the hands on either side of the head with the fingers spread.
Dog - hold the right hand forward, with the index finger and middle fingers extended. Then move it back.
Eagle - extend the arms and wave the hands in imitation of the beating of wings, with the palms down and fingers stretched out. Then bring the right hand near the nose, curving it slightly to suggest the bird's beak.
Fox - indicate the height and bulk of the animal. Indicate that the tail is long and white tipped.
Horse - raise the right palm obliquely in front of the left side of the chest. To make the sign more forceful, some tribes put the left index and middle fingers astride the right hand.
Moose - put the tips of both thumbs at a level with the ears. Then spread the fingers upwards. Finish by touching the front teeth with the index fingers.
Pony - make the sign for horse. Indicate the size of the animal with the right hand open and extended.
Pronghorn - place both hands, open, palms facing the person addressed, on each side of the head, at forehead level.
Rabbit - use the right hand to give the size of the animal then make the sign for jump.
Jump - close the right hand slightly, with palm up, the fingers together and pointing forward at shoulder level. Then move the hand forward in curves that suggest jumps.
Snake - hold the right hand at waist level, the index finger pointing forward, the other fingers closed. Move the hand forward with a wavy motion to simulate the movement of a snake.
Turkey - make the sign for bird. Then place the right hand, closed. under the chin. Wiggle the hand slightly using a wrist movement.
Wolf - hold the right hand at shoulder level, index and middle fingers pointed and spread. other fingers together. Then move the hand on a slant in front of you.
The Indians usually count to ten by starting with the right hand closed, palm turned to the person addressed, at should level. For number one, the little finger is raised - for two the next finger - for three the middle finger is raised - for four the index finger and for five the thumb, thus ending with all five fingers raised.
For the numbers six through ten, keep the right hand as it is, with palm out and all five fingers extended. For six, touch your left thumb to the tip of your right thumb. For seven, raise the left index finger - for eight, add the middle finger - for nine, add the left ring finger and for ten - the left little finger, so that all ten fingers are now raised.
Certain tribes indicate the numbers above ten by making the sign for ten, then holding the left hand spread open with palm towards the chest, and then with the right index finger, touching one by one the fingers of the left hand. The thumb stands for numbers one through ten - the index finger, eleven through twenty: the middle finger, twenty one through thirty; the ring finger, thirty one through forty; and the little finger, forty one through fifty.
The right hand, in the same way, represents the numbers fifty through one hundred.
To indicate numbers over one hundred, raise both hands to shoulder level, thumbs touching, palms turned towards the person addressed, and describe an arc on the left side.
Hundreds are counted on the back of the left hand in the same way as for multiples of ten. It is sufficient to indicate at the outset that hundreds are to be counted.
Aunt - depending on circumstance, make the signs for father and sister, or mother and sister.
Baby - place the right hand clenched against the left side of the chest, palm inwards. Clasp the right forearm with the left hand as if holding a baby.
Boy - make the sign for son,
Brother - touch the tips of the index and middle fingers to the lips. Then make the sign for man.
Child - make the sign for man of girl, as the case may be. Hold the right hand closed against the right side. Then indicate the size of the child.
Father - cup your right hand slightly and tap the right side of your chest gently two or three times. Then make the sign for man.
Daughter - place your hands on the side of your head with fingers bent. Then lower your hand as though using a comb. This sign can also be done with the right hand only.
Girl - place your hands on the side of your head with fingers bent. Then lower your hand as though using a comb. This sign can also be done with the right hand only.
Grandmother - make the sign for mother and age then bring the right hand near to the right ear and describe a circle to indicate that she is hard of hearing.
Age - first indicate the number of years, then make the sign for winter.
Winter - hold both fists in front of the chest, with the backs of the hands facing the person addressed. Shake the hands to symbolize the falling of snowflakes.
Husband - make the signs for man and marry.
Marry - make the sign for exchange, the hold both index fingers together pointing forward.
Exchange - place both hands at shoulder level, index fingers pointing up. Lower the hands and pass one hand in front of the other, describing a quarter circle.
Man - stretch out the right index finger, keeping the other fingers closed, palm facing the other person. The sign means male.
Mother - with the right hand closed, give two or three gentle taps on the left side of the chest.
Sister - make the sign for woman, the hold your index and middle fingers horizontally with their tips on your lips, with the thumb and other fingers closed.
Son - make the sign for man, then with the right hand closed, index finger extended upwards, indicate the childs height.
Wife - make the signs for girl and husband.
Woman, Wife - make the signs for girl and husband.
Affection - make two fists and cross the arms against your chest.
Anger - place the right hand, closed, against the forehead with the thumb touching the forehead. Slowly bring the hand forward, rotating the fist slightly clockwise and counter clockwise in a twisting motion.
Astonishment - place the right palm or fingers on the mouth and extend the right hand, palm turned outwards, towards the person addressed, holding it about a foot from the chest. This sign conveys strong surprise, great satisfaction or deep disappointment.
Calm Down - hold the hands open at shoulder level, palms turned towards the person addressed. Then lower the hands slowly with a downward movement of the forearms.
Disgust - this felling is sometimes expressed by a simple facial expression.
Fear - make the sign for fright.
Fright - hold both hands, palms down, at chest level. The right index finger is extended and the other right fingers are closed, while the left hand is completely closed and held slightly closer to the chest than the right. Then hal close the right hand.
To Forgive - raise both hands, closed except for extended thumbs and index fingers, to shoulder level, with palms facing the person addressed. Then move the hands forward, each describing a semi-circle. The make the sign for "to go".
To Go - hold the right hand near the chest, palm up, fingers together and extended. Then move the hand briskly towards the person addressed.
Friend, Friendship - raise the right hand to neck level, palm out, index and middle fingers touching and extended. Then lift the hand until the fingertips reach the level of the face.
Fright - hold both hands, palms down, at chest level. The right index finger is extended and the other right fingers are closed, while the left hand is completely closed and held slightly closer to the chest than the right. Then half close the right hand.
Sad - close the right hand and place it against the forehead. Then with the same hand execute a small circular movement, keeping it in the same place. The head should be turned to one side and the face should have a serious expression. If the head is kept straight then the sign means mad.
Happy - make the signs for heart and day.
Heart - place the right hand, fingers held together, on the chest at the level of the heart.
Day - hold both hands horizontally at chest level about 4 inches apart, palms down. The move them to each side, turn palms up and stop.
Mad, Madness - close the right hand and place the knuckles of the fingers against the forehead. Then rub the hand against the forehead in a counter clockwise pattern. This direction means the sun: the opposite movement means medicine.
Pity - raise both hands, palms facing inwards, in front of the chest with arms extended and only the index fingers pointing upward. Then bring both hands towards the chest.
Sad - close the right hand and place it against the forehead. Then with the same hand, execute a small circular movement, keeping it in the same place. The head should be turned to one side and the face should have a seious expression. If the head is kept straight then the sign means "mad".
Shame - with the fingers held together and extended upwards, the rear edges of the hands are placed against the checks. Then the hands are crossed diagonally across the face.
Shy - make the sign for shame.
Surprise - make the sign for astonishment.
To Worry - make the sign for heart then wave your hand in the direction of the heart.
Bean - hold the right hand horizontally, palm up, fingers together.
Cloud - hold both hands as high as possible above the head, with the index fingers touching. Then lower them gradually and shake them as you do so, symbolize a descent from the sky.
Corn (maize) - hold the left hand horizontally, thumb and index finger extended, to symbolize an ear of maize, Then rub these two fingers with the right thumb and index finger.
Country (homeland) - place both hands flat on the ground. Then stretch both hands towards either side.
Earth - extend the hands horizontally and raise them to chest level about seven inches apart. Then slowly lower them together to mid-thigh height.
Fire - place the right hand in front of the body, fingers nearly closed. Then raise the hand gradually, spreading the fingers. Do this over two or three times.
Forest - hold both hands about eight inches from the shoulders, with the backs out, thumbs and fingers extended. Slowly raise them a bit to indicate growth. Extend the right hand towards the right, then bring back to the front, to indicate a wide expanse.
Grain - hold the right hand at chest level, palm up, fingers closed, with the thumb against the index finger to symbolize a vessel holding grain.
Grass - hold both hands palms up, fingers raised, fairly close to the ground. Then raise the arms, shaking the hands slightly as you raise them.
Lake - make the sign for water, then with the thumbs and index fingers of both hands, trace an incomplete circle about eight inches in diameter. Finish by shaking the wrists, with the fingertips spread.
Lightning - hold the right index finger, pointing up, near the bottom of the left cheek, at jaw level. Then move the hand away, describing several zigzags in the air from left to right.
Prairie - hold both hands open in front of the chest, side by side, fingers together, palms up. Then separate them, the right hand going to the right and the left to the left.
Rain - hold both hands closed very high above the head, about eight inches apart. Lower them slowly, opening them as you do so, until the fingers are all opened out when you reach the level of the waist. Repeat this slowly two or three times.-
Snow - hold both hands almost closed fairly high in front of you, palms turned towards the person addressed/ Slowly lower them in a pattern of zigzags and curves to symbolize glitters and swirls.
Sun - n incomplete circle with the index finger and thumb of the left hand. Then extend the hand towards the east and describe a curve moving west.
Tree - place the left hand four inches from the shoulder, palm towards the chest, thumb and fingers spread. Shake the hand very slightly to symbolize growth.
Water - cup the right hand in front of the mouth, fingers aimed to the left and raised up. Then make the sign for lake.
Winter - hold both fists in front of the chest, with the backs of the hands facing the person addressed. Shake the hands to symbolize the fall of snowflakes.
World - hold both hands horizontally in front of you, fingers together, thumbs touching, at waist level. Then move the hands away from one another.