Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Detail of portrait of Shoshoni Chief Tendoi Demonstrating Sign Language. (Photo by Charles M. Bell, circa 1880, courtesy National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.), VOA

April 4, 2017: In early September 1930, the Blackfeet Nation of Montana hosted a historic Indian Sign Language Grand Council, gathering leaders of a dozen North American Nations and language groups.

The three-day council held was organized by Hugh L. Scott, a 77-year-old U.S. Army General who had spent a good portion of his career in the American West, where he observed and learned what users called Hand Talk, and what is today more broadly known as Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL). With $5,000 in federal funding, Scott filmed the proceedings and hoped to produce a film dictionary of more than 1,300 signs. He died before he could finish the project.


Among them is Ron Garritson, who identifies himself as being of Choctaw and European heritage. He was raised in Billings, Montana, near the Crow Nation.

“I learned how to speak Crow to a degree, and I was really interested in the sign language,” he said. “I saw it being used by the Elders, and I thought it was a beautiful form of communication. And so I started asking questions.”

Garritson studied Scott’s films, along with works by other ethnographers and now has a vocabulary of about 1,700 signs. He conducts workshops and classes across Montana, in an effort to preserve and spread sign language and native history.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Lingua franca

Prior to contact with Europeans, North American Native peoples were not a unified culture, but hundreds of different cultures and tribes, each with its own political organization, belief system and language. When speakers of one language met those of another, whether in trade, councils or conflict, they communicated in the lingua franca of Hand Talk.

Scholars dispute exactly when, in their 30,000-year history in North America, tribes developed sign language. It was observed among Florida tribes by 16th Century Spanish colonizers.

“Coronado, as he documented in his journals in 1540, was in Texas and met the Comanche,” said Garritson. “He documented that the Comanches made themselves so well-understood with the use of sign talk that there was almost no need for an interpreter. It was that easy to use and easy to understand.”

While each tribe had its own dialect, tribes were able to communicate easily. Though universal in North America, Hand Talk was more prominent among the nomadic Plains Nations.

“There were fewer linguistic groups east of the Mississippi River,” said Garritson. “They were mostly woodland tribes, living in permanent villages and were familiar with each other’s languages. They still used sign language to an extent, but not like it was used out here.”

Hand Talk was also the first language of deaf Natives.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

Erasing a culture

By the late 1800s, tens of thousands of Native Americans still used Hand Talk. That changed when the federal government instituted a policy designed to “civilize” tribal people.

Children were removed from their families and sent to government-run boarding schools, where they were forbidden to speak their own languages or practice their own spiritual beliefs. Native Deaf children were sent to deaf residential schools, where they were taught to use American Sign Language (ASL).

Research has shown that Hand Talk is still being used by a small number of deaf and hearing descendants of the Plains Indian cultures.

“Hand Talk is endangered and dying quickly,” said Melanie McKay-Cody, who identifies herself as Cherokee Deaf and is an expert in anthropological linguistics.

McKay-Cody is the first deaf researcher to specialize in North American Hand Talk and today works with tribes to help them preserve their signed languages. She is pushing for PISL to be incorporated into mainstream education of the deaf.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

“Easier than hollering”

Lanny Real Bird, who is Crow, Arikara and Hidatsa, grew up in a household where PISL was used.

“My grandmother had hearing loss,” he said. “I’d see my father signing with her in the Plains Indian Sign Language. I picked up basic sign language, enough to say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ ‘I’m hungry.”

As a boy, he played with a young relative who was deaf, who helped expand his signing vocabulary.

Real Bird, a former instructor at Montana’s Little Big Horn College, has worked for 20 years helping tribes preserve their languages, both spoken and signed, and has developed a 400 to 600-sign PISL course, which he teaches at community schools and workshops across the Plains states.

“Right now we’re probably at the basic communications phase,” he said. “So in order to expand, we have to go to another level, from listening to understanding to rudimentary communicating to fluency and literacy.”

Real Bird said it took nearly a decade to convince school systems to incorporate PISL into general language instruction.

“Later this month, students of the of the Crow Reservation’s Wyola Elementary School will be showcased at the annual Montana Indian Education Conference,” he said.

There, they will demonstrate their Crow language skills, both spoken and signed.
-VOA


Popular

Photo by Brian Kostiuk on Unsplash

Traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market.

By Md Waquar Haider

When popular smartphone brands like Xiaomi and realme entered the laptop market in India last year, they were expected to shake the existing giants, specifically under the Rs 50,000 category. However, chip shortage and supply crunch have somewhat dented their plans to make a significant mark to date. According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. The first one is a massive supply crunch in the laptop component market and only big brands are able to get volume and supplies.

The other factor is that the traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market. Top 3 players control more than 70 per cent of the market and strong portfolio, distribution, and channel reach as well as brand marketing has helped them massively. "New brands can surely make a dent in the consumer laptop market but are challenged by supply issues right now. Watch out for them in 2022 as and when supply situation eases up," Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India told IANS.

Dominated by HP Inc, Lenovo and Dell, the traditional PC market (inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in India continued to be robust as the shipments grew by 50.5 per cent year-over-year (YoY) in the second quarter (Q2), according to IDC. Notebook PCs continue to hold more than three-fourth share in the overall category and grew 49.9 per cent YoY in 2Q21, reporting a fourth consecutive quarter with over 2 million units. Desktops also indicated a recovery as shipments grew 52.3 per cent YoY after recording the lowest shipments of the decade in 2Q20.

According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, driven by the pandemic and the associated accelerated pivot to remote work, learn and unwind culture, PCs have been witnessing heightened demand. "Despite the current supply chain constraints, PCs are here to stay in the new never normal. In the run-up to the festive season, established PC market leaders will continue to leverage their brand salience and gain market share," Ram told IANS.

a computer chip close up According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. | Photo by Manuel on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

The research, led by researchers at the University of Plymouth, showed that antidepressant mirtazapine offered no improvement in agitation for people with dementia

A drug used to treat agitation in people with dementia is no more effective than a placebo, and might even increase mortality, according to a new study published in The Lancet. The research, led by researchers at the University of Plymouth, showed that antidepressant mirtazapine offered no improvement in agitation for people with dementia -- and was possibly more likely to be associated with mortality than no intervention at all.

Agitation is a common symptom of dementia, characterized by inappropriate verbal, vocal or motor activity, and often involves physical and verbal aggression. Non-drug patient-centered care is the first intervention that should be offered but, when this doesn't work, clinicians may move to a drug-based alternative.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Chandni Goyal, Training Manager at House of Beauty and Boddess, shares a few tricks to see you through endless nights of partying

Digital beauty platform Boddess.com aims to be a disrupter in the Indian beauty market segment offering a curation of products to suit customisation and individual needs. Intime for the festive season, Chandni Goyal, Training Manager at House of Beauty and Boddess, shares a few tricks to see you through endless nights of partying:


* Have fun with colour and sparkle--Move away from blacks and browns and experiment with colours complementing your outfit. The traditional smokey eye can be given a touch of glamour with a dab of glitter eyeshadow in the inner corner of your eyes. It will make your eye make-up pop and will be just what is needed for a festive look.

Keep reading... Show less