PIPE (meaning: holding long wooden stem). Bring the hands in front of neck, backs down, left hand four inches from chin, right hand several inches in front of left; move hands to front and downwards short distance, as though lowering pipe; then repeat. (Stem is held between thumb and index.)
PISTOL. Make the sign for GUN; then with both hands indicate "six", for six shooter, by holding up right hand, fingers and thumb extended, separated, and holding up left thumb, left fingers closed.
PITY--towards another. Both 1 hands, backs up, carried outward towards another person.
PITY ME. Hold both 1 hands, well out, and draw them to the breast.
PLANT. Make sign for CORN, for WORK; then with right hand near shoulder make as though dropping seed in the ground.
PLENTY. Hold extended 5 hands well out to right and left; then bring them in together as though gathering something up.
PONY. Make the signs for HORSE and LITTLE, showing height with left flat hand.
POOR (in possession). Hold up left I hand, back out, index pointed upwards; then with right index make as though to scrape left index bare, striking from tip of finger downwards.
POOR (meaning: flesh clawed off). Bring curved hands close to center of body and make as though to claw the flesh off the ribs, first with right then with left. Repeat.
PORCUPINE. Show size of animal; then point up with fingers as in grass; then indicate working on moccasin.
PORTRAIT. Hold left hand same as in MIRROR, and with right hand indicate as though making sketch on left palm.
POSSESSION (for such words as HIS, HERS, YOURS, MINE, ETC.). Hold closed fist in front of neck, back to right; swing hand slightly downwards and by wrist action have thumb point to front.
POWDER. Hold left flat hand in front of body, back down, and rub tips of fingers and thumb of right hand slightly above left palm.
PRAIRIE. Extend both hands out in front, about height of face, touching, palms up, fingers to front; then separate hands moving right to right, left to left on an even plane.
PRAIRIE DOG. To right of body hold right hand near ground, showing height of animal; then make sign for HOLE; then push compressed right hand through closed left hand, until tips emerge; then with thumb and index snap them as in LITTLE TALK, representing their chattering noise.
PRAY. Make the signs for WORK (meaning: making), and MEDICINE. Some Southern Indians hold both flat hands, palms up, high above the sides of the head meaning: "God sees my hands; there is no blood on them, I am innocent."
PRESIDENT. Make the sign for WHITES, for CHIEF, and for BIG, and with left hand point afar as if towards Washington.
PRIEST (meaning: black robes). Make the sign for COAT, carrying hands well down, and for BLACK.
The earliest Missionaries among the Indians were The Catholic Priests, known as
"Black Robes," and Episcopalian ministers, known as "White Robes."
PRISONER (meaning: bound at wrists). Close the hands, cross the wrists in front of body, the right resting on left, palms down.
PRIVATE TALK. Hold extended left hand, back up, in front of left breast; with right thumb and index make sign for LITTLE TALK under and close to left palm.
PROUD. Used by Indians as meaning vain. Make sign for PAINT, for DRESS and for FOND-meaning, fond of GOOD DRESS.
PUEBLO--Indian. Make sign for MEXICAN, for WORK, for BLANKET, and for STRIPED.
PUSH. Place both fists near breasts holding arms rigid; then move them a few inches forward as with an effort.
QUARREL. Bring index fingers, pointing up, several inches apart, opposite each other, in front of body, level with shoulders; now by wrist action move right tip toward left, then tip toward right, alternately, and repeat. Make motions sharply. Also means SCOLDING.
QUEEN. Make signs for FEMALE, CHIEF, and BIG.
QUENCH. Make the sign for FIRE; then, with back up, hold extended right hand over place where sign for FIRE was made, and lower the hand; then make sign for WIPED OUT.
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Last modified: August 20, 2012.