Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: Jennifer Graber

The Gods of Indian Country

Who put Native American sign language in the US mail?

In 1890, a strange letter with “hieroglyphic script” arrived at Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School. It was sent from a reservation in the Oklahoma Territory to a Kiowa student named Belo Cozad. Cozad, who did not read or write in English, was able to understand the letter’s contents—namely, its symbols that offered an update about his family.

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