"While it is natural for all people to use signs to convey meaning, the use of signs will be most frequent where it is a common thing for several people speaking different languages to come into contact.
While all American Indians use some gestures, the Plains Indians, who were constantly meeting other tribes, necessarily made much use of them. In fact, a remarkable sign language had grown up among them, whereby Sioux, Crows, Assinaboines, Pani, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Kiowas, could readily converse upon any subject.
It is not probable that the sign language was invented by any one tribe. Many writers haveclaimedthat it was made by the Kiowas. Rather, it grew up of itself among the tribes because gesturing is natural to peoples everywhere."
|Native American signs 1.|
|Native American signs 2.|
Names of some Native American tribes:
"Arapaho.—The fingers of one hand touch the breast in different parts to indicate the tattooing of that part in points.
Arikara.—often called “corn-eaters,” are represented by imitating the shelling of corn, by holding the left hand still, the shelling being done with the right.
Blackfeet.—Pass the flat hand over the outer edge of the right foot from the heel to beyond the toe, as if brushing off dust.
Comanche and Shoshone.—Imitate with the hand or forefinger the crawling motion of the snake.
Flathead.—The hand is raised and placed against the forehead."