TEEPEE. With index fingers, touching at tips, form an angle of 60 degrees. Sometimes index fingers are crossed at first joints, to indicate extended teepee poles.
TELEGRAPH. Make sign for WRITE; then hold flat hand back out, in front of breast; with lower edge of extended right hand strike upper edge of left, with a rebound, and then make sign for GO, quickly. A flexible modern sign.
TELL ME--TALK TO ME (meaning bring the word to me). The open right hand is placed palm up in front of mouth; then draw toward the lips with a quick jerk.
THANK YOU. Extend both flat hands, backs up, in sweeping curve outward and downward, toward another person.
THERE. Make the sign for SIT, moving the hand well out from body. Have seen Indians simply point with middle finger.
THEY or THEM. Point to person and make sign ALL.
THICK. Hold up flat left hand sideways in front of breast, with right hand reach around from below and clasp thickest part; move thumb and finger back and forth few times.
THIEF. Make the sign for PERSON and for STEAL.
THIN. If possible point to something thin; otherwise with right thumb and two fingers rub lower edge of left hand just back of little finger. This is a somewhat confusing sign, as it also stands for BACON. If making sign for BACON, add the sign EAT.
THINK (meaning: drawn from the heart). Hold right hand, back up, against left breast, index extended and pointing to left; move hand horizontally outwards eight or ten inches, turning palm downward.
THOUSAND. Make sign for HUNDRED and for TEN.
THREAD. As though twisting thread rub inner surface of tips of thumb and index; make the sign for SEW, ending by carrying right hand well out to right to imitate motion of sewing.
THUNDER. Make the sign for BIRD, and for FIRE, holding the hand a little in front of and higher than head. (Indian lore records thunder as being caused by the "Thunder Bird".)
TIME. There has been some diversity of gesture in regard to passage of time, but we present the most logical. For abstract TIME, extend right and left 1 hands towards the left, hands tandem, then pull right hand about three inches backward to right. See BEFORE, AFTER, FUTURE, PAST, BEHIND and LONG TIME.
TIMOROUS. Make the signs for COWARD, and LITTLE.
TIRED. Hold out 1 hands together, backs up; lower hands a few inches while drawing them slightly towards body.
TOBACCO. Hold the flat left hand, back down, in front of body; place lower edge, or heel, of closed right hand on left palm; then with heel of right hand rub left palm with a circular motion.
TODAY. Make the signs for DAY and NOW. Many Indians merely use NOW.
TOGETHER. Make the sign for WITH.
TOMAHAWK. Generally indicated by using right forearm and hand as a hatchet, by elbow action, striking forward and downward with flat hand held edgewise.
TOMORROW. Make the sign for NIGHT, then sign for DAY; then with left hand indicate SUN rising in east.
TONGUE. Protrude tongue a trifle and touch with first finger.
TORNADO (meaning: the wind charges). Make the sign for WIND, and for CHARGE.
TOWN. Take signs for CITY and LITTLE.
TRACK. Make the sign for WALK and point to the ground.
TRADE. Make the sign for EXCHANGE.
TRADER. Make the signs for WHITES, CHIEF and TRADE.
TRAIL (to). Make the signs for TRACK and LOOK.
TRAP. For iron or steel traps, touch or point to something made of metal; hold closed hands side by side, knuckles touching, index fingers curved and touching; then bring sides of indexes together, to represent closing of jaws of trap.
TREATY. If the treaty is between two tribes make the signs for MAKE, SMOKE, and SHAKE HANDS. If treaty is with the whites, make signs for SHAKE HANDS and WRITE.
TREE. Hold open left hand about ten inches in front of shoulder, back outward, thumb and fingers spread. Move slightly upward, slowly, to indicate growth.
TROT. Make sign for the animal; then bring both fists in front of body, same height, equally advanced, and few inches apart; then imitate action of front feet in trotting by alternately striking to front and downwards.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.