The Cherokee Nation credits Sequoyah for giving them the capacity to communicate across large distances and throughout the years by preserving the tribe's history, culture, and spiritual traditions through the written word. The United States government also recognizes his contribution by including him in a federal statute, Title 17, Section 121.
In addition to being able to write down their stories and teachings, the students of Indian Boarding Schools were denied access to Native American languages being taught in these schools. With no other means available to them, these students were forced to learn English instead. It was not until 1953 that Congress passed legislation requiring Indian Boarding Schools to provide vocational education and training programs. This same law also allowed for the teaching of Native American languages in these schools.
Cherokee people today still rely on Sequoyah for his invention which has helped preserve their language and culture. The National Museum of Native American History in Washington, D.C., is home to one of the world's largest collections of materials related to Sequoyah.
Sequoyah was one of Cherokee history's most powerful characters. He invented the Cherokee Syllabary, a written version of Cherokee. Literacy and printing flourished in the Cherokee Nation in the early nineteenth century, thanks to the syllabary, which is still in use today. In addition, Sequoyah helped lead the movement to remove the Cherokee from their homeland in the South to lands in Oklahoma.
In 1821, the United States government hired him to teach the tribespeople how to write their language on paper. The syllabary he created is used by many speakers of Cherokee today. It is based on the Latin alphabet but includes some additional symbols to represent sounds not found in Latin letters. For example, it has a separate symbol for the sound made when you place your tongue against the roof of your mouth after swallowing (as opposed to speaking).
Sequoyah also helped draft a treaty with the federal government that allowed the Cherokee to move west of the Mississippi River. This treaty is considered the first of its kind because it guaranteed rights to an ethnic group rather than simply treating all Indians as equals. Although the deal was never fully implemented because of opposition from southern settlers, it laid out guidelines for future dealings between the two nations.
After graduating from Western Reserve University in Ohio with a degree in medicine in 1839, Sequoyah returned to Cherokee Country to practice medicine.
Because to his invention of the syllabary, the Cherokee tribe became one of the first Indigenous cultures in North America to acquire a written language. Sequoyah was also an important Cherokee envoy, traveling to Washington, D.C. to sign two relocation and exchange land accords. These agreements helped ensure the safety of his people by providing resources for their transition into federal citizenship.
In addition to these achievements, Sequoyah is considered the founder of universities in Tennessee and Oklahoma. He also played an important role in establishing many other schools across the South. Last but not least, he has been recognized as one of America's greatest educators. Before his death in 1839 at the age of 39, Sequoyah had become one of the most influential men in his tribe.
Cherokee Nation historian Robert Alexander Smith wrote that "Sequoyah's invention opened up a new world of knowledge and education to the Cherokees. They now could write their stories, keep records of their deeds, and learn about the white man's ideas from visitors like Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams."
Smith continued that "Through him (Sequoyah), the Cherokees assumed a position of leadership among the nations of the Eastern Woodlands. He had a profound effect on all educated Indians, whether they knew it or not."
In conclusion, Sequoyah made significant contributions to his tribe and to our country as a whole.
Cherokee Fascinating Facts
Sequoyah was a well-known figure in Cherokee history. Sequoyah was a talented individual. Despite the fact that he did not know how to read or write in any other language, he was able to create a Cherokee writing system that is still in use today. He also invented an electric generator that is now used by some power companies in the United States.
Sequoyah was born on May 5th, 1758 in what is now known as Swain County, North Carolina. His father was a Scottish trader who traveled with the Indians as an interpreter for the British government. Because of this, the family moved often when his father was hired to work for different tribes. They finally settled down in what is now called Etowah Valley, near present-day Gadsden, Alabama. This area is where Sequoyah learned how to be an Indian from a local tribe and where he grew up learning about the world from his parents.
At the age of 11, after his father died, Sequoyah went to live with his uncle who lived near Fort Prince George in what is now known as Savannah, Georgia. Here he learned how to write using a Latin-based alphabet and how to prepare food using European techniques. After being at the fort for three years, Sequoyah returned home to take over his family business.
Sequoyah (about 1770–1843), a Cherokee scholar, is the only known Native American who devised an analphabet for his tribe. Thousands more Cherokee were able to become literate as a result of this advancement. Sequoyah's invention was called "the writing brush." He taught himself how to make this tool by observing white men who came into the village with their writing materials. Using these materials, he made sketches of the words that interested him and then cut out the letters one by one and attached them to the handle of his knife.
Cherokee Nation officials encouraged Sequoyah to learn to read and write because they wanted to keep records of their people so they could be paid royalties for the land they sold to Europeans. However, many Cherokees were angry about this policy change and stopped sending their children to school. Because of this, most Indians didn't learn to read or write until years after the first schools were established by whites in 1832. Even today, few Indians are aware of this achievement.
In addition to being the inventor of the writing brush, Sequoyah is best known for his efforts to have his fellow Cherokees granted citizenship rights by the United States. He successfully argued his case before Congress in 1821 and 1822, but it took another decade before his request was granted.