Plains Indian Sign Language: A comparative study of alternate and primary signers
AdvisorSupalla, Samuel J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAn extensive literature review has been undertaken to create an accurate portrayal of North American Indian Sign Language as used by both deaf and hearing American Indians. Historical accounts are stressed as the primary source for understanding the extent of signed language use among the American Indians of North American and its decline to the present status as an endangered language. This sign language has functioned in two significant ways: (1) primarily (for hearing tribal members) as an alternative to the spoken language and (2) as a primary, or first language for deaf tribal members. It is critical to bear this distinction in mind for future investigations into the linguistic status of North American Indian Sign Language. Additional historical accounts related to American Indians' encounters with the signed language use among Deaf Anglos are also included. An ongoing research project involving the preservation of old film in which North American Indian Sign Language has been documented in 1930s and the current data collection of deaf NAISL signer is discussed as a potential source for future research and as a viable access to the heritage of American Indians.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Special education and rehabilitation