ILLUSTRATIONS

The rare and fragile pencil and ink illustrations here are archived in Garrick Mallery's files, and have never before been published. The following are one hundred of these illustrations with accompanying annotations from the original source materials at the Smithsonian. The illustrations are presented in a reduced JPG format for ease of viewing.

Click on a thumbnail to the left to bring up a larger image and its annotation(s). A text listing is also available.

Loading image. Please wait
DIFFER

First and second fingers of right hand extended, separated (others closed), is passed from the right breast outward, with back of hand toward the right, forefinger pointing obliquely upward, and the second finger pointing straight outward or forward. (Dakota I.) "The idea of this is contained in contrasting the appearance of the two fingers; one of the fingers is so and the other is not so - i.e., not the same, different."

See larger image

DIFFER

First and second fingers of right hand extended, separated (others closed), is passed from the right breast outward, with back of hand toward the right, forefinger pointing obliquely upward, and the second finger pointing straight outward or forward. (Dakota I.) "The idea of this is contained in contrasting the appearance of the two fingers; one of the fingers is so and the other is not so - i.e., not the same, different."

See larger image

BATTLE

The clinched hands are held about as high as the neck and five or six inches asunder, then waved two or three times laterally to show the advances and retreats of the combatants.

See larger image

LONG-TIME

Place the hands close together and then move them slowly asunder, so slowly that they seem as if they would never complete the gesture.

See larger image

KNOW-NOT

Data not currently available.

See larger image

COME-OUT

Same as the sign for LODGE, Entering a, only the fingers of the right hand point obliquely upward after passing under the left hand (Dakota I.) "Coming out from under cover."

See larger image

BRAVE

Close the fists, place the left near the breast, and move the right over the left toward the left side. (Wied.) A motion something like this, which I do not now distinctly recall - a sort of wrenching motion with the fists in front of the chest - I have seen used for STRONG. If Wied's sign-maker's hand first struck the region over the heart (as he may have done) he would then have indicated a "strong heart," which is the equivalent for BRAVE. (Matthews)

See larger image

MAN

Elevate the index-finger, and turn the hand hither and thither.

See larger image

WHITE-MAN

Draw the opened right hand horizontally from left to right across the forehead a little above the eyebrows, the back of the hand to be upward and the fingers pointing toward the left. Or, close all the fingers except the index, and draw it across the forehead in the same manner. (Dakota IV.) "From the hats worn by the whites."

More
See larger image

PAST

Data not currently available.

See larger image

DEAD

Hold the left hand flat over the face, back outward, and pass with the similarly held right hand below the former gently striking or touching it.

See larger image

TRUE

If one finger is thrust forward in a straight line from the mouth, it means a straight speech, or speaking the truth. (Ojibwa I.)

See larger image

KILL

Clinch the hand a strike from above downward. (Wied.)

Note: The sign KILL is far less common than more specific related terms. A PISL signer would use signs indicated killing by bow and arrow, by knife, or by club, rather than using the more generic term.

See larger image

ACROSS

Pass the hand, flattened and either partially or entirely extended, from the breast, forward, upward, and downward, forming an arch to the front. (Absaroka I; Shoshoni and Banak I.)

See larger image

CHEYENNE

Data not currently available.

See larger image

TAKE

Left arm and hand held diagonally to the body on level with elbow, right-hand forefinger hooked, quickly drawn under left hand and back to the side (sometimes all the fingers are hooked as though grabbing something or tearing it away).
(Cheyenne I.)

See larger image

BEFORE

Move both fingers up and down and away from the body on the same line, but allowing the right to gain on and finally pass the left. (Dakota I.) "From the idea of being or going before or ahead of another person in walking or anything else. A derivative of superior."

See larger image

ALIKE

Place the two forefingers parallel to each other, and push them forward a little. (Dunbar.)

See larger image

HORSE-MOUNTED

Place the first two fingers of the right hand (N with thumb resting on third finger) astraddle the two joined (many Sioux use only the forefinger straightened) and straight first finger of the left (T 1), then make several short arched movements forward with hands so joined. (Dakota I.) "The horse mounted and in motion."

More
See larger image

SPEAKING

Place the flat right hand, palm up, fingers pointing to the left, a short distance before the chin, and move it forward. This is sometimes repeated three or four times.
(Dakota VI, VII.)

The right hand, not very rigidly extended, palm upward, thumb forward, is held in contact with the lower lip; it is then moved forward a few inches, and restored to its original position. These motions are repeated once or oftener. (Mandan and Hidatsa I.)

See larger image

STEAL

Left hand held about a foot in front of the breast, horizontal, back outward, fingers extended and pointing toward the right; then the right hand, with the fingers extended, hooked, tips outward, hand horizontal, is passed outward under the left hand, and quickly drawn backward again behind the left hand, as though seizing and subsequently concealing the article. (Dakota I.) "Stealing and concealment."

See larger image

SPEAK

Data not currently available.

See larger image

YES

Extend the right index, the thumb against it, nearly close the other fingers, and from a position about a foot in front of the right breast, bend the hand from the wrist downward until the end of the index has passed about six inches through an arc. Some at the same time move the hand forward a little. (Dakota IV.) "A nod; the hand representing the head and the index the nose."

See larger image

SUN

The thumb and finger, forming a circle, elevated in front toward the face. (Dunbar.)

The forefinger and thumb are brought together at tips so as to form a circle, and held up toward the sun's track. (Long.)

See larger image

EXCHANGE

Both hands, palms facing each other, forefingers extended, crossed right above left before the breast. (Cheyenne I.)

The sign should be made at the height of the breast. Raise the right index about a foot above the left before crossing them. (Dakota IV.) "Yours is there and mine is there; take either."

See larger image

SHORT-DISTANCE

Hold the right hand as for FAR AWAY, and place it in front of the right breast and close to it. (Dakota IV.)

See larger image

AHEAD (BEFORE)

Bring the hand close to the right breast (M) with palm to left, forefinger pointed outward; bring left hand (M palm inward) in front of and few inches from the breast, move right hand to the front and at same time move the left toward the breast slightly. After or afterward is done by having the hands in the same position (M) except to have palm of right hand down. The left is kept stationary and the right is drawn back. (Cheyenne II.) "The left hand representing an imaginary line, the action of the right makes it the front or before."

See larger image

BREAK

Both hands brought one above the other around to front of body, closed as though grasping small stick, and suddenly turned in opposite directions to imitate breaking. (Cheyenne I.)

More
See larger image

SIBLING

The two first finger-tips are put into the mouth, denoting that they fed from the same breast. (Burton.)

Place the fore and middle fingers in the mouth, thus implying nursing at the breast by a common mother. (Arapaho I.)

More
See larger image

SHOT

---------Struck by a deadly missile.
The left hand is held before the chest at a convenient distance, thumb upward, back outward, fingers slightly bent, and is struck in the palm with the back of the clinched right fist. (Mandan and Hidatsa I.)

See larger image

POOR

The two forefingers extended, with the right as if it was a knife, imitate the motion of cutting the flesh off the left finger, beginning toward the tip, and cutting with a quick motion directed toward the base; at the same time turn the finger a little round, so as to expose the different parts to the action of cutting; intimating that the flesh has diminished from starvation (Long.)

See larger image

BIG-MUCH

Both hands flat and extended, placed before the breast, finger-tips touching, palms down; then separate them by passing outward and downward as if smoothing the outer surface of a globe. (Absaroka I) Shoshoni and Banak I; Kaiowa I; Comanche III; Apache II; Wichita II.; "A heap."

See larger image

SEE

Place the fore and middle fingers (of the right hand usually), separated, extended, and pointing outward, in front of the eyes, indicating the direction of supposed lines of sight. (Arapaho I.)

More
See larger image

SATISFIED

The right hand, extended horizontally, palm downward, is held in front of and near or touching the throat, and is then moved forward a few inches. This denotes a comfortable feeling of fullness of satisfaction; but to indicate the more intense feelings of being cloyed or glutted the hand may be held at the chin or at the mouth, the sign being otherwise unchanged. These signs may be used to denote satiety from other causes besides eating and drinking. (Mandan and Hidatsa I.)

See larger image

ENTER

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 side of it. The left hand here represents the low door of the skin lodge and the right the man stooping to pass in. (Long.)

More
See larger image

SHORT-IN-TIME

The right index extended and pointing obliquely upward (K), is held ten or twelve inches in front of the breast, then the hand is turned horizontal, back upward, and drawn slowly inward to the body, fingers pointing toward the left and obliquely downward. (Dakota I.) "A short distance in time."

See larger image

THINK

Right hand carried to the left breast, with the fore and second fingers extended, pointing downward, obliquely toward the left, back outward (N, turned obliquely downward), make several outward and inward movements of the extended fingers only. (Dakota I.) "'Stop! let me think.' The heart is regarded as the seat of all the functions of life, hence the sign of thinking from that organ."

See larger image

STRIKE-CAMP

Data not currently available.

See larger image

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 forefinger, pointed upwards, in a vertical direction, and then reverse both finger and motion; the greater the elevation the "bigger" the chief. (Arapaho I.)

More
See larger image

BEHIND

Place the hands in the same position as for AHEAD, except that the right hand is behind the left, i. e., nearer the body. (Mandan and Hidatsa I.)

See larger image

SMALL

The extended forefinger of the left hand (usually erected) is pinched near its extremity between the thumb and index-finger of the right hand. The degree of smallness is to some extent shown by the height of that portion of the left forefinger which appears above the right thumbnail. For extra demonstration the eyes are often partly closed and the forefinger pinched tightly (Mandan and Hidatsa I.)

See larger image

BEGONE

---------Go away.
The hand, with the palm facing downward and backward, is held close to the body and about on a level with the stomach; it is moved upward to a level with the top of the head, a foot or so in front of it, describing an arc whose convexity is forward. (Mandan aud [sic] Hidatsa I.)

See larger image

RAIN

Hold the right hand pendent, with fingers separated and pointing downward, before the right side and on a level with the head; then thrust it downward and back to its first position, repeating the movement two or three times.
(Dakota V, VI; Hidatsa I; Arikara I.)

See larger image

WHITE-TAILED-DEER

The forefinger of the right hand is extended vertically, with the back toward the breast; it is then turned from side to side, to imitate the motion of the animal when he walks at his leisure. (Long.)

See larger image

EXHAUSTED

Data not currently available.

See larger image

ABIDE

Clinch the right hand as if holding a stick, and make a motion as if trying to strike something on the ground with the bottom of the stick, held in an upright position. (Wichita I.)

See larger image

BOW-AND-ARROW

Draw the right arm back completely whilst the left arm is extended with clenched hand. (Mallery 1880-1894, Smithsonian collections #2374)

See larger image

NO

Data not currently available.

See larger image

ONE-HUNDRED

Data not currently available.

See larger image

FAR-IN-DISTANCE

Data not currently available.

See larger image

SCATTERED

Data not currently available.

See larger image

TAKE-PRISONER

Data not currently available.

See larger image

TWO-KETTLE-SIOUX

Data not currently available.

See larger image

SIOUX

Data not currently available.

See larger image

COUNCIL-LODGE

Data not currently available.

See larger image

ROSEBUD

Data not currently available.

See larger image

GOOD

Place the right hand horizontally in front of the breast, and move it forward.

See larger image

TIE-UP

Data not currently available.

See larger image

TIPI (LODGE, WIGWAM)

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 for "skin lodge" is the same with all the Upper Missouri Indians. (Matthews.)

More
See larger image

MANY

Both hands, with spread and slightly curved fingers, are held pendent about two feet apart before the thighs; then draw them toward one another, horizontally, drawing them upward as they come together.
(Mallery 1880-1894, Smithsonian collections #2374)

See larger image

RIVER

Open the right hand and pass it before the mouth from above downwards.

See larger image

I

Data currently not available.

See larger image

BAD

Close the hand and open it whilst passing it downward.

See larger image

BATTLE

Data currently not available.

See larger image

TOGETHER

Data currently not available.

See larger image

OGLALA-SIOUX

Data currently not available.

See larger image

MARRIED

Data currently not available.

See larger image

TRUE

Lower the hand in front of the breast, then extend the index-finger, raise and move it straight upward before the person.

See larger image

SANTEE-SIOUX

Data currently not available.

See larger image

HUNKPAPA-SIOUX

Data currently not available.

See larger image

SAD

Data currently not available.

See larger image

COITUS

Data currently not available.

See larger image

ATTRACTING-ATTENTION

Data currently not available.

See larger image

MINICONJOU-SIOUX

Data currently not available.

See larger image

BEHIND

Data currently not available.

See larger image

CLOUD

Data currently not available.

See larger image

WHIRLWIND

Data currently not available.

See larger image

SUDDEN

Data currently not available.

See larger image

BUFFALO

Close both hands, with the forefingers of each partly extended and crooked, and place one on either side of the forehead, palms forward. (Mallery 1880-1894, Smithsonian collections #2374)

See larger image

NOW

Place the extended index, pointing upward, palm to the left, as high as and before the top of the head; push the hand up and down a slight distance several times, the eyes being directed upward at the time. (Hidatsa I; Kaiowa I; Arikara I; Comanche III; Apache II; Wichita II.) (Mallery 1880-1894, Smithsonian collections #2374)

See larger image

ALL

Data currently not available.

See larger image

LEVEL

Data currently not available.

See larger image

DUST-RISING

Data currently not available.

See larger image

COME

Elevate the index finger near the face, extend the hand and return it with a number of gentle jerks.

See larger image

GO

Like COME, but begin near the face and extend the hands with a number of gentle jerks.

See larger image

BLACK-TAILED-DEER

DEER: Pass the uplifted hand to and fro several times in front of the face.

First make the preceding gesture [for DEER], then indicate a tail.

See larger image

DIVIDED

Data currently not available.

See larger image

NOON

Make the sign for SUN, and hold it toward the zenith, so that the eye can see through the circle formed by the thumb and index. (Mallery 1880-1894, Smithsonian collections #2374)

See larger image

ASHAMED

Data currently not available.

See larger image

TIRED

Data currently not available.

See larger image

KILL

Clench the hand and strike from above downward.

See larger image

HEAR

Data currently not available.

See larger image

SIT

Data currently not available.

See larger image

COME

Elevate the index finger near the face, extend the hand and return it with a number of gentle jerks.

See larger image

SURPRISE

The right hand, palm inward, with the fingers slightly bent, is placed over the mouth in such a way as to leave the lips free to articulate. The index rests on the upper lip, but the palm does not touch the mouth. The thumb commonly rests against the right side of the nose, and one or more finger-tips on the face to the left of the mouth. While the hand is thus held, low groans, exclamations, or expressions of surprise are uttered. (Mallery 1880-1894, Smithsonian collections #2374)

See larger image

FISH

The extended right hand, thumb upward, fingers pointing forward, is held near the body, in front and to the right of the median line; it is then moved rather gently forward with a laterally waving motion, so as to represent the movements of a fish. (Mallery 1880-1894, Smithsonian collections #2374)

See larger image

HORSE

Place the index and third fingers of the right hand astraddle the index-finger of the left.

See larger image

<< Return to Images Main Page

This website was developed by Jeffrey Davis and UT undergraduate linguistic students with support from UT's START Program and the National Science Foundation's Documenting Endangered Languages Program, Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS-0853665; BCS-1027735; and BCS-1110211)