The Indians And Deaf And Dumb





We are quite sure the Indians were delighted by the reception tendered

them by the children of the public schools and the inmates of the

Institutions for the Blind and Deaf and Dumb last Friday, in the Academy

of Music, but their happiness was made complete, on Sunday evening, at

the La Pierre house, by a visit which they received from six of the

pupils, all girls, of the Deaf and Dumb Institute, accompanied by the

Principal, Mr. Foster, and one of the teachers. On their arrival at the

hotel they were received by Mr. Welsh, the humane commissioner, and

shown into a well furnished private parlour, when they were introduced,

one by one, to General Smith and his Indians, whose faces plainly showed

the delight which their hearts felt. They at once singled out the two

girls who had taken part in the reception at the Academy, and bestowed

upon them special marks of friendship.



Tea being announced in a few minutes, the whole party proceeded to the

dining room, where they were seated at well spread tables, three Indians

and one mute at each. Here the striking similarity between the signs

used by the Indians of the West and our deaf mutes was plainly

observable in the spirited conversation which ensued. The merry laughter

which broke forth from these usually quiet stolid men was sufficient to

mark their keen appreciation of what was said. One old chief, slightly

confused, sought to excuse his awkwardness with the knife and fork to

one of the young ladies, by stating that at home he never used them,

but ate with his fingers. They exchanged signs for butter, coffee, milk,

meat, bread, salt, sugar, knife, fork, &c., which were remarkably

similar.



After tea the whole party assembled in the parlour, and then began a

scene indescribable. The Indians, wild with delight, talked away to the

mutes, who, equally happy, seemed to catch and understand everything

they said. They described their homes, their hunting expeditions, their

wives and children; how they lived and how they buried their dead. One

of them gave a very graphic account of the great snowstorms which

frequently occur among the mountains. One told about the wars he had

engaged in, and the number of scalps he had taken, and then asked the

teacher if he had ever killed a man, and on receiving a reply in the

negative, seemed quite disgusted. Another, a great rider, said that with

them the horses had plenty of grass to eat, and were fat, but here, in

the city, they had none, and were consequently very poor. Another old

chief, a very fine looking man, stated that he had a large family of

children at home, and then asked the smallest of the girls if she

wouldn't go home with him, promising to bring her back as soon as she

had taught his little boys and girls how to make signs like the mutes.



These wild men seemed thoroughly at home in the presence of the

children, their habitual restlessness and reserve disappeared; they had

met for once white persons with whom they could converse without the

tedious process of interpreting, and the conversation, as Mr. Welsh

expressed it, went directly to their hearts. In parting with their young

visitors, the Indians freely expressed the pleasure which their visit

had afforded them, then sorrow at the separation, and promised to relate

all that had occurred to their friends and kindred in the West.



When it is remembered that all this and much more took place between a

delegation of wild Indians and six mute girls attending the Institution

in our city, it certainly will be considered remarkable, and probably

never before in the history of civilization has such a meeting occurred.

As a means of communication with the wild tribes roaming over our

western plains, the capacity of the sign-language of mutes can hardly be

over estimated, and a few well-trained mute missionaries could, without

doubt, be made the instruments for accomplishing much good among this

down-trodden despised race.--New York Herald.





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