The   sign   language   of   the   Native Americans   is   ancient,   beautiful,   captivating.   It   has so   much   power   and   energy.   At   some   point   you   fall   under   her   magnetism   and   you understand   what   is   at   stake   on   the   subconscious   level.   Unfortunately   now   fewer and   fewer   people   speak   this   language.   Of   course,   we   use   many   gestures   in   our daily   life,   sometimes   even   without   noticing   this.   But   this   is   a   completely   different story.   Because   sign   language   is   not   individual   movements   and   their   meaning,   it   is a   real   language,   with   its   rules   and   some   grammar.   For   example,   the   object   always goes   first,   and   afterwards   its   various   characteristics."When   they   tell   me   that   sign language   dies,   I   answer:   No,   it's   just   sleeping   now"-   Ron   Garritson   says.   He   owns this great language and willingly shares his knowledge. More read in his interview Sign   talker   Ron   Garritson,   a   fourth   generation   native   of   Billings,   Mont.,   is   the featured   speaker.   A   Metis   of   Cree,   Choctaw   ancestry   and   European   heritage,   he was   adopted   by   families   of   the   Crow   and   Gros   Ventre   Nations   and   grew   up   on   and around   the   Crow   Indian   Reservation.   For   the   past   30   years,   Garritson   has   been   on   a   personal   mission   to   preserve,   restore and maintain the Plains Indian Sign Language. JBN:   How many languages do you speak? Ron   Garritson:   I   am   not   fluent   in   any   particular   spoken   language   other   that American   English.      But   I   grew   up   in   an   environment   that included   the   English,   German,      Yiddish,   Italian,   Spanish,   and   Crow   Languages.      I   have   learned   to   speak   a   bit   in   each   language   but not fluently. JBN: How you become interesting in sign language? Ron   Garritson:   I   became   interested   in   the   Plains   Indian   Sign   Language   when   I   was   in   high   school   when   I   saw   my   Crow   friends   and Crow Elders using it. JBN: What do you love about sign language? Ron   Garritson:   What   I   love   about   the   Plains   Indian   Sign   Language   is   the   beauty   and   gracefulness   of   the   hands   when   it   is   used.     Also the energy that flows through the hands.  JBN: How long time it takes to learn it? Ron   Garritson:   The   length   of   time   it   takes   to   learn   depends   on   the   person   and   their   interest   in   it.      I   have   been   studying   it   for   over   40 years   and   though   I   have   a   vocabulary   of   around   1700   signs,      I   am   still   learning,      but   a   person   can   become   well   versed   in   the   sign   talk in about a year if they are dedicated to learning it and practice diligently. JBN: If someone wants to learn that language where he or she can do it? Ron   Garritson:   If   a   person   wishes   to   learn   sign   talk,      there   are   sites   on-line,      YouTube,   books   (William   Tomkins   "Indian   Sign Language", and W.P. Clark "Plains Indian Sign Language".)  But the best way is first hand from someone that is fluent in the sign talk. JBN: Do you think that sign language has chance to survive? Ron   Garritson:   Yes,   I   believe   the   sign   talk   has   a   chance   to   survive,      but   only   if   people   take   interest   to   learn   it   and   pass   it   on   to others,  like other languages and traditions. JBN: what we need to do to save that language Ron   Garritson:   We   need   to   bring   attention   to   the   fact   that   the   sign   talk   is   an   endangered   Native American   Language   and   that   it   is   a vital   and   important   part   of   the   American   Indian   Culture   that   must   be   preserved,   and   that   it   needs   to   be   taught   in   the   schools   and colleges in every Native American community. JBN: Tell please few interesting facts about sign language Ron   Garritson:   The   sign   talk   is   easy   to   learn.      It   is   universal,      logical   and   naturally   descriptive   in   it's   form   and   does   not   require forming   alphabetical   letters.   Word   association   is   a   great   way   to   help   remember   the   signs   as   well,      that   is   to   say,      the   way   the   sign   is used   in   relation   to   what   you   are   trying   to   say,      for   example   the   sign   for   "Tree".     The   way   you   hold   your   hand   up   vertically   with   the   palm facing   the   front   and   the   fingers   spread   open,   it   is   obvious   that   the   message   you   are   trying   to   express   is   a   tree.      The   same   goes   for the   sign   for   "Rabbit"   as   you   compress   your   hand   horizontally,   make   the   moving   motion   of   the   animal   you   are   indicating   and   from   the same   hand   stick   upward   the   index   and   middle   finger   to   indicate   the   form   of   the   rabbit.      Keep   in   mind   though   that   some   signs   can   be   a bit more complex,  but in general it is mostly descriptive. JBN: Maybe you will tell  few examples of misunderstanding between French (or other Europeans)  and Indian because of sign language) Ron   Garritson:   A   simple   and   common   mis-interpretation   of   certain   signs   have   been   made   which   resulted   in   the   mis-translation errors   that   have   occurred.   For   example   when   the   French   met   the   Shoshone   Indians,      the   latter   in   order   to   identify   themselves   by   sign made   the   motion   of   a   fish   swimming,      to      which   the   French   mis-took   for   "Snake"   due   to   the   movement   of   the   hand   in   a   "slithering" motion,   thus   the   Shoshone   became   known   as   the   "Snake   Indians".      With   the   Gros   Ventre   Indians,      the   French   mis-took   the   sign   they made for waterfall as "Big Belly",  Thus resulting in this tribe being called the Gros Ventre or Big Belly Indians. JBN: Most exited situations when you used sign language) Ron   Garritson:   The   most   excited   I   have   been   is   when   ever   I   get   the   opportunity   to   speak   sign   with   another   sign   talker,   or   translate for   someone   as   in   the   case   when   I   was   the   interpreter   between   a   non-signer   and   a   hearing   impaired   sign   talker.      Also   when   I   am giving an inter-active presentation. JBN: Where people can read or start to know more about you Ron   Garritson:   People   can   read   about   me   on   line.      Just   type   in   Ron   Garritson   Plains   Indian   Sign   Language   and   several   things will   pop   up   pertaining   to   the   work   I   have   done   and   presentations   I   have   given.      I   also   have   a   Facebook   page   called   Plains   Indian   Sign Language where I often post videos, photos and other information on this subject.
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  Ron Garritson: What I love about the Plains Indian Sign Language is the beauty and gracefulness of the hands when it is used
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The    sign    language    of    the Native   Americans   is   ancient, beautiful,   captivating.   It   has so   much   power   and   energy. At   some   point   you   fall   under her      magnetism      and      you understand   what   is   at   stake on    the    subconscious    level. Unfortunately   now   fewer   and fewer      people      speak      this language.   Of   course,   we   use many    gestures    in    our    daily    life,    sometimes    even    without noticing   this.   But   this   is   a   completely   different   story.   Because sign     language     is     not     individual     movements     and     their meaning,    it    is    a    real    language,    with    its    rules    and    some grammar.    For    example,    the    object    always    goes    first,    and afterwards   its   various   characteristics."When   they   tell   me   that sign   language   dies,   I   answer:   No,   it's   just   sleeping   now"-   Ron Garritson   says.   He   owns   this   great   language   and   willingly shares his knowledge. More read in his interview Sign    talker    Ron    Garritson,    a    fourth    generation    native    of Billings,    Mont.,    is    the    featured    speaker.    A    Metis    of    Cree, Choctaw   ancestry   and   European   heritage,   he   was   adopted   by families   of   the   Crow   and   Gros   Ventre   Nations   and   grew   up   on and    around    the    Crow    Indian    Reservation.    For    the    past    30 years,   Garritson   has   been   on   a   personal   mission   to   preserve, restore and maintain the Plains Indian Sign Language. JBN:   How many languages do you speak? Ron   Garritson:   I   am   not   fluent   in   any   particular   spoken   language other   that American   English.      But   I   grew   up   in   an   environment   that included   the   English,   German,     Yiddish,   Italian,   Spanish,   and   Crow Languages.      I   have   learned   to   speak   a   bit   in   each   language   but not fluently. JBN: How you become interesting in sign language? Ron   Garritson:   I   became   interested   in   the   Plains   Indian   Sign Language   when   I   was   in   high   school   when   I   saw   my   Crow   friends and Crow Elders using it. JBN: What do you love about sign language? Ron    Garritson:    What    I    love    about    the    Plains    Indian    Sign Language   is   the   beauty   and   gracefulness   of   the   hands   when   it   is used.  Also the energy that flows through the hands.  JBN: How long time it takes to learn it? Ron   Garritson:   The   length   of   time   it   takes   to   learn   depends   on the   person   and   their   interest   in   it.      I   have   been   studying   it   for   over 40   years   and   though   I   have   a   vocabulary   of   around   1700   signs,      I am   still   learning,      but   a   person   can   become   well   versed   in   the   sign talk   in   about   a   year   if   they   are   dedicated   to   learning   it   and   practice diligently. JBN:   If   someone   wants   to   learn   that   language   where   he   or   she can do it? Ron   Garritson:   If   a   person   wishes   to   learn   sign   talk,      there   are sites    on-line,        YouTube,    books    (William    Tomkins    "Indian    Sign Language",   and   W.P.   Clark   "Plains   Indian   Sign   Language".)      But the   best   way   is   first   hand   from   someone   that   is   fluent   in   the   sign talk. JBN: Do you think that sign language has chance to survive? Ron    Garritson:    Yes,    I    believe    the    sign    talk    has    a    chance    to survive,      but   only   if   people   take   interest   to   learn   it   and   pass   it   on   to others,  like other languages and traditions. JBN: what we need to do to save that language Ron   Garritson:   We   need   to   bring   attention   to   the   fact   that   the   sign talk   is   an   endangered   Native   American   Language   and   that   it   is   a vital   and   important   part   of   the   American   Indian   Culture   that   must be   preserved,   and   that   it   needs   to   be   taught   in   the   schools   and colleges in every Native American community. JBN: Tell please few interesting facts about sign language Ron   Garritson:   The   sign   talk   is   easy   to   learn.      It   is   universal,     logical   and   naturally   descriptive   in   it's   form   and   does   not   require forming   alphabetical   letters.   Word   association   is   a   great   way   to help   remember   the   signs   as   well,      that   is   to   say,      the   way   the   sign is   used   in   relation   to   what   you   are   trying   to   say,      for   example   the sign   for   "Tree".      The   way   you   hold   your   hand   up   vertically   with   the palm   facing   the   front   and   the   fingers   spread   open,   it   is   obvious   that the   message   you   are   trying   to   express   is   a   tree.      The   same   goes for   the   sign   for   "Rabbit"   as   you   compress   your   hand   horizontally, make   the   moving   motion   of   the   animal   you   are   indicating   and   from the    same    hand    stick    upward    the    index    and    middle    finger    to indicate   the   form   of   the   rabbit.      Keep   in   mind   though   that   some signs   can   be   a   bit   more   complex,      but   in   general   it   is   mostly descriptive. JBN:    Maybe    you    will    tell        few    examples    of    misunderstanding between French (or other Europeans)  and Indian because of sign language) Ron    Garritson:    A    simple    and    common    mis-interpretation    of certain   signs   have   been   made   which   resulted   in   the   mis-translation errors   that   have   occurred.   For   example   when   the   French   met   the Shoshone   Indians,      the   latter   in   order   to   identify   themselves   by sign   made   the   motion   of   a   fish   swimming,      to      which   the   French mis-took    for    "Snake"    due    to    the    movement    of    the    hand    in    a "slithering"    motion,    thus    the    Shoshone    became    known    as    the "Snake   Indians".      With   the   Gros   Ventre   Indians,      the   French   mis- took   the   sign   they   made   for   waterfall   as   "Big   Belly",     Thus   resulting in this tribe being called the Gros Ventre or Big Belly Indians. JBN: Most exited situations when you used sign language) Ron   Garritson:   The   most   excited   I   have   been   is   when   ever   I   get the   opportunity   to   speak   sign   with   another   sign   talker,   or   translate for   someone   as   in   the   case   when   I   was   the   interpreter   between   a non-signer   and   a   hearing   impaired   sign   talker.      Also   when   I   am giving an inter-active presentation. JBN: Where people can read or start to know more about you Ron   Garritson:   People   can   read   about   me   on   line.      Just   type   in Ron   Garritson   Plains   Indian   Sign   Language   and   several   things will   pop   up   pertaining   to   the   work   I   have   done   and   presentations   I have   given.      I   also   have   a   Facebook   page   called   Plains   Indian Sign    Language    where    I    often    post    videos,    photos    and    other information on this subject.
Johnson’s Billings News
Sign-language
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They are read.  We are Quoted!!!
  Ron Garritson: What I love about the Plains Indian Sign Language is the beauty and gracefulness of the hands when it is used