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Counting - The system of tens generally was used by Indians in counting.  The white man call this the decimal system.  The Indians called it the finger and hand count.

In the Indian sign language, in counting from one to ten the usual way was to hold the closed right hand in front.  For one the little finger was extended; two, the third finger;  three, the second, four, the index; five the thumb.  To continue to ten the left hand was brought up.  The thumb extended for six; the index finger for seven, and so on.  The little finger of the left hand indicated ten.

For twenty, both hands were brought up and the fingers and thumbs extended twice.  For twenty five the fingers of both hands were extended twice and those of one hand raised once, and so on.  Among some tribes, such as the Eskimo and Tlingit, twenty was counted on the hands and feet - or on all fingers and toes - "the complete man," as they said.  The Zuñi counted the second ten back on the knuckles.

Many Indians could count to one thousand, but few could imagine a greater number than this.  Most of them could not imagine numbers greater than two or three hundred.  The Cherokee called one thousand the "great one hundred."  Among the Iroquois it was "ten hand clasps," that is ten hundreds.  The Kiowa called it "the whole hand hundred."

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