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Sequoyah

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Sequoyah
ᏍᏏᏉᏯ
Sequoyah.jpg
SE-QUO-YAH – a lithograph from History of the Indian Tribes of North America. This lithograph is from the portrait painted by Charles Bird King in 1828.
Bornc. 1770
DiedAugust 1843 (aged 72–73)
San Fernando de Rosa, Coahuila, Mexico (near present day Zaragoza, Coahuila, Mexico)
NationalityCherokee, American
Other namesGeorge Guess, George Gist
Occupation(s)Silversmith, blacksmith, educator, warrior, politician, inventor, linguist
Spouse
Sally Benge
(m. 1815)
Children2

Sequoyah (Cherokee: ᏍᏏᏉᏯ, Ssiquoya,[a] or ᏎᏉᏯ, Se-quo-ya;[b] c. 1770 – August 1843), also known as George Gist or George Guess, was a Native American polymath of the Cherokee Nation. In 1821, he completed his independent creation of the Cherokee syllabary, making reading and writing in Cherokee possible. His achievement was one of the few times in recorded history that an individual who was a member of a pre-literate group created an original, effective writing system. His creation of the syllabary allowed the Cherokee nation to be one of the first North American Indigenous groups to have a written language.[2] Sequoyah was also an important representative for the Cherokee nation, by going to Washington, D.C. to sign two relocations and trading of land treaties.[3]

After seeing its worth, the people of the Cherokee Nation rapidly began to use his syllabary and officially adopted it in 1825. It unified a forcibly divided nation with new ways of communication and a sense of independence. By the 1850s, their literacy rate reached almost 100%, surpassing that of surrounding European-American settlers.[4]

The Cherokee syllabary has had international influence. As diffusion spread, it is believed to have inspired the development of 21 known scripts or writing systems, used in a total of 65 languages in North America, Africa, and Asia.[5]

Discover more about Sequoyah related topics

Cherokee language

Cherokee language

Cherokee or Tsalagi is an endangered-to-moribund Iroquoian language and the native language of the Cherokee people. Ethnologue states that there were 1,520 Cherokee speakers out of 376,000 Cherokee in 2018, while a tally by the three Cherokee tribes in 2019 recorded ~2,100 speakers. The number of speakers is in decline. About eight fluent speakers die each month, and only a handful of people under the age of 40 are fluent. The dialect of Cherokee in Oklahoma is "definitely endangered", and the one in North Carolina is "severely endangered" according to UNESCO. The Lower dialect, formerly spoken on the South Carolina–Georgia border, has been extinct since about 1900. The dire situation regarding the future of the two remaining dialects prompted the Tri-Council of Cherokee tribes to declare a state of emergency in June 2019, with a call to enhance revitalization efforts.

Native Americans in the United States

Native Americans in the United States

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, First Americans, Indigenous Americans, and other terms, are the Indigenous peoples of the mainland United States. There are 574 federally recognized tribes living within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. As defined by the United States Census, "Native Americans" are Indigenous tribes that are originally from the contiguous United States, along with Alaska Natives. Indigenous peoples of the United States who are not listed as American Indian or Alaska Native include Native Hawaiians, Samoan Americans, and Chamorros. The US Census groups these peoples as "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders".

Polymath

Polymath

A polymath is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.

Cherokee

Cherokee

The Cherokee are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in their homelands, in towns along river valleys of what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, edges of western South Carolina, northern Georgia, and northeastern Alabama.

Cherokee syllabary

Cherokee syllabary

The Cherokee syllabary is a syllabary invented by Sequoyah in the late 1810s and early 1820s to write the Cherokee language. His creation of the syllabary is particularly noteworthy as he was illiterate until the creation of his syllabary. He first experimented with logograms, but his system later developed into a syllabary. In his system, each symbol represents a syllable rather than a single phoneme; the 85 characters provide a suitable method for writing Cherokee. Although some symbols resemble Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Glagolitic letters, they are not used to represent the same sounds.

Writing

Writing

Writing is a neuropsychological activity involving cognitive and physical processes and the use of writing systems to structure and translate human thoughts into persistent representations of human language. A system of writing relies on many of the same semantic structures as the language it represents, such as lexicon and syntax, with the added dependency of a system of symbols representing that language's phonology and morphology. Nevertheless, written language may take on characteristics distinctive from any available in spoken language.

Recorded history

Recorded history

Recorded history or written history describes the historical events that have been recorded in a written form or other documented communication which are subsequently evaluated by historians using the historical method. For broader world history, recorded history begins with the accounts of the ancient world around the 4th millennium BC, and it coincides with the invention of writing. For some geographic regions or cultures, written history is limited to a relatively recent period in human history because of the limited use of written records. Moreover, human cultures do not always record all of the information which is considered relevant by later historians, such as the full impact of natural disasters or the names of individuals. Recorded history for particular types of information is therefore limited based on the types of records kept. Because of this, recorded history in different contexts may refer to different periods of time depending on the topic.

Writing system

Writing system

A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication, based on a script and a set of rules regulating its use. While both writing and speech are useful in conveying messages, writing differs in also being a reliable form of information storage and transfer. Writing systems require shared understanding between writers and readers of the meaning behind the sets of characters that make up a script. Writing is usually recorded onto a durable medium, such as paper or electronic storage, although non-durable methods may also be used, such as writing on a computer display, on a blackboard, in sand, or by skywriting. Reading a text can be accomplished purely in the mind as an internal process, or expressed orally.

Literacy

Literacy

Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in written form in some specific context of use. In other words, humans in literate societies have sets of practices for producing and consuming writing, and they also have beliefs about these practices. Reading, in this view, is always reading something for some purpose; writing is always writing something for someone for some particular ends. Beliefs about reading and writing and its value for society and for the individual always influence the ways literacy is taught, learned, and practiced over the lifespan.

European Americans

European Americans

European Americans are Americans of European ancestry. This term includes people who are descended from the first European settlers in the United States as well as people who are descended from more recent European arrivals. European Americans have been the largest panethnic group in the United States since about the 17th century.

Settler

Settler

A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established a permanent residence there, often to colonize the area.

Early life

An 18th-century map of Toskegee and the contemporary location of Monroe County in Tennessee
An 18th-century map of Toskegee and the contemporary location of Monroe County in Tennessee
An 18th-century map of Toskegee and the contemporary location of Monroe County in Tennessee

Sequoyah's important status has led to several competing accounts of his life that are speculative, contradictory, or fabricated. As noted by John B. Davis, there were few primary documents describing facts of Sequoyah's life. Some anecdotes were passed down orally, but these often conflict or are vague about specific times and places.

Sequoyah was born in the Cherokee town of Tuskegee, Tennessee, around 1778. James Mooney, a prominent anthropologist and historian of the Cherokee people, quoted a cousin as saying that as a little boy, Sequoyah spent his early years with his mother. In the people's matrilineal kinship system, children were considered born into their mother's family and clan, and her male relatives were most important to their upbringing. His name is believed to come from the Cherokee word siqua meaning 'hog'. However, Davis says the name may have been derived from sikwa (either a hog or an opossum) and vi meaning a place or an enclosure. This is a reference either to his childhood deformity or to a later injury that left Sequoyah disabled. According to a descendent of his, he was born with the name 'Gi sqwa ya' which means 'there’s a bird inside.' After repeatedly failing to complete his farm duties, his name was changed to Sequoyah which means 'there’s a pig inside.' [6]

His mother, Wut-teh, is debated to be either the daughter, sister, or niece of a Cherokee chief. Historians believe her to be related to the chiefs who have been identified as the brothers Old Tassel and Doublehead. John Watts (also known as Young Tassel) was a nephew of the two chiefs, so it is likely that Wut-teh and John Watts were related in some fashion. Due to native customs, Sequoyah learned everything from his mother like the Cherokee language and his first job of a tradesman.[7]

Sources differ as to the true identity of Sequoyah's father. John B. Davis cites Emmet Starr's book, Early History of the Cherokees, as the source for saying that Sequoyah's father was a Virginian fur trader from Swabia named Nathaniel Guyst, Guist, or Gist. Other sources state that his father also could have been an unlicensed German peddler named George Gist, who came into the Cherokee Nation in 1768, where he married and fathered a child. Another source identified his father as Nathaniel Gist, son of Christopher Gist, who became a commissioned officer with the Continental Army associated with George Washington during the American Revolution. Gist would have been a man of some social status and financial backing, Josiah C. Nott claimed he was the "son of a Scotchman". The Cherokee Phoenix reported in 1828 that Sequoyah's father was a half-blood and his grandfather a white man.

The New Georgia Encyclopedia presents another version of Sequoyah's origins, from the history Tell Them They Lie: The Sequoyah Myth (1971), by Traveller Bird, who claims to be a Sequoyah descendant. Bird says that Sequoyah was a full-blood Cherokee who always opposed the submission and assimilation of his people into the white man's culture. The encyclopedia noted that Bird presented no documentary evidence of his assertions, but his account has gained some credibility in academic circles.

In any case, the father was absent before Sequoyah was born. Various explanations have been proposed, but the reason is unknown. Wuh-teh did not remarry afterward (assuming she married her son's father in the first place). Sequoyah had no siblings, and his mother raised him alone. According to Davis, Sequoyah never went to school and never learned English. He and Wuh-teh spoke only Cherokee. As a youth, he spent much of his time tending cattle and working in their garden, while his mother ran a trading post.

Sequoyah became lame early in life, though how, when and where are not known. Some reports indicate this may have been caused by injury in battle; others say the cause was a hunting accident. Davis wrote that an early issue of the Cherokee Advocate said that "...he was the victim of a hydrarthritic trouble of the knee joint, commonly called 'white swelling'." One doctor speculated that he had "anascara [sic]". In any case, lameness prevented him from being a successful farmer or warrior.

Despite his lack of schooling, Sequoyah displayed much natural intelligence. As a child, he had devised and built milk troughs and skimmers for the dairy house that he had constructed. As he grew older and came in contact with more white men, he learned how to make jewelry. He became a noted silversmith, creating various items from the silver coins that trappers and traders carried. He never signed his pieces, so there are none that can be positively identified as his work.

Sequoyah may have taken over his mother's trading post after her death, which Historian John B. Davis claimed occurred about the end of the 18th century. His store became an informal meeting place for Cherokee men to socialize and, especially, drink whiskey. Sequoyah developed a great fondness for alcohol and soon spent much of his time drunk. After a few months he was rarely seen sober, neglecting his farm and trading business, and spending his money buying liquor by the keg.

Fortunately, he realized that he was not making good decisions, and took up new interests. He began to draw, then he took up blacksmithing, so he could repair the iron farm implements that had recently been introduced to the area by traders. Self-taught as usual, he made his own tools, forge and bellows. He was soon doing a good business either repairing items or selling items he had created himself. His spurs and bridle bits were in great demand because he liked to decorate them with silver. Although he maintained his store, he both stopped drinking and stopped selling alcohol.

Up to this point, while Sequoyah was not formally educated, he recognized the advantage that comes with an established written language. He believed one of white people's many advantages was their written language as it allowed them to expand their knowledge, partake in many forms of media, and have a better network of communication. The Cherokee's disadvantage was having to rely solely on memory which sparked his interest in wanting to create some form of a written language for the Cherokee nation.[2]

By 1809, Sequoyah is believed to have started developing what became his Cherokee syllabary, in hopes of unifying the Cherokee nation and making them more independent (see section below). In 2008 archeologist Kenneth B. Tankersley (Cherokee Nation) of the University of Cincinnati announced having found carvings from the syllabary in a cave in southeastern Kentucky, where Sequoyah is known to have had relatives. This cave was the traditional burial site of a Cherokee chief, Red Bird. Some 15 identifiable Cherokee syllabary symbols were found carved into the limestone, accompanied by a date of 1808 or 1818. In addition, there were petroglyphs that appeared to include ancient Cherokee symbols, in addition to bears, deer and birds.

Move to Alabama

After moving to Alabama, Sequoyah took part in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
After moving to Alabama, Sequoyah took part in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

It is unclear when Sequoyah initially moved to Alabama from Tennessee. Many Cherokee began migrating there even before ceding their land around Sequoyah's birthplace in 1819, as they were under continual pressure by European-American settlers. Some sources claim he went with his mother, though there is no confirmed date for her death. Others have stated that it was around 1809, when he started his work on the Cherokee syllabary. Another source claims it was in 1818. However, this date is too late, because Sequoyah was already living in Alabama when he enlisted in the army.

In 1813–14, Sequoyah served as a warrior of the Cherokee Regiment (Col. Gideon Morgan, Commander) at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend against the "Red Sticks" (Creek, or Muskogee, renegades). His white comrades called him either George Guess or George Gist. The Creek War had started during the period of the War of 1812, and represented an effort by traditional Creek to assert their power within the people and expel the European Americans.

During his time serving, he witnessed first hand the disadvantage of not having a written language. Unlike the white soldiers, he and his fellow Cherokee warriors could not write letters to home, read their military orders, or write down any events or thoughts that occurred during their service. This only pushed his determination to create a reading and writing system for the Cherokee language. In his early stages of developing the writing system, he faced criticism from his peers because they believed putting words to paper was witchcraft.[7]

In 1817, Sequoyah signed a treaty which traded Cherokee land in the southeast for land in Arkansas. But in 1819 he backed out of the treaty which resulted in the loss of his first Alabama home, causing him to move to Willstown (modern day Fort Payne), Alabama.[3]

Life after the creation of the syllabary

Sequoyah's syllabary was completed about 1821 but it was not accepted by the Cherokee nation at first. But after the people began to see its value, the syllabary quickly spread and Sequoyah was awarded a medal from the Cherokee National Council in 1824. This same year, Sequoyah moved from Alabama to Arkansas. Four years after his move, he would reluctantly sign a treaty that exchanged the Cherokee land in Arkansas for Indian Territory (modern day Oklahoma). He was one of the "Old Settler" delegates that went to Washington, D.C. to sign the treaty.[3]

In 1829, Sequoyah settled in present day Sallisaw, Oklahoma, with his wife and daughter. In 1838, the Cherokees from the southeast were relocated to Indian Territory under Chief John Ross. After this relocation, Sequoyah set out to unite the 16 other Old Settlers with the Ross Party because they already established their own government. In 1839, Sequoyah and the 16 other Old Settlers and about 15 representatives of the Ross party signed the Act of Union, and a new Cherokee constitution was created.[3][8]

Soon after the signing of the new Cherokee constitution, Sequoyah went to Mexico in search for other Cherokees who migrated there. He was hoping to spread his teachings of the syllabary and convince the migrated Cherokees to relocate to Indian Territory.[9]

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James Mooney

James Mooney

James Mooney was an American ethnographer who lived for several years among the Cherokee. Known as "The Indian Man", he conducted major studies of Southeastern Indians, as well as of tribes on the Great Plains. He did ethnographic studies of the Ghost Dance, a spiritual movement among various Native American culture groups, after Sitting Bull's death in 1890. His works on the Cherokee include The Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees (1891), and Myths of the Cherokee (1900). All were published by the US Bureau of American Ethnology, within the Smithsonian Institution.

Anthropology

Anthropology

Anthropology is the scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, societies, and linguistics, in both the present and past, including past human species. Social anthropology studies patterns of behavior, while cultural anthropology studies cultural meaning, including norms and values. A portmanteau term sociocultural anthropology is commonly used today. Linguistic anthropology studies how language influences social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans.

Historian

Historian

A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. Some historians are recognized by publications or training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere.

Disability

Disability

Disability is the experience of any condition that makes it more difficult for a person to do certain activities or have equitable access within a given society. Disabilities may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or a combination of multiple factors. Disabilities can be present from birth or can be acquired during a person's lifetime. Historically, disabilities have only been recognized based on a narrow set of criteria—however, disabilities are not binary and can be present in unique characteristics depending on the individual. A disability may be readily visible, or invisible in nature.

Doublehead

Doublehead

Doublehead (1744–1807) or Incalatanga, was one of the most feared warriors of the Cherokee during the Cherokee–American wars. Following the peace treaty at the Tellico Blockhouse in 1794, he served as one of the leaders of the Chickamauga Cherokee, and he was chosen as the leader of Chickamauga in 1802.

John Watts (Cherokee chief)

John Watts (Cherokee chief)

John Watts, also known as Young Tassel, was one of the leaders of the Chickamauga Cherokee during the Cherokee-American wars. Watts became particularly active in the fighting after frontiersmen murdered his uncle, Old Tassel Carpenter 1708-1788, in 1788, while he traveled with Cherokee delegates to a peace conference.

Nathaniel Gist

Nathaniel Gist

Nathaniel Gist was born in Maryland and fought during the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War. He was reputed to be the father of Sequoyah the famous Cherokee by Wurteh Watts. Like his father Christopher Gist (1706–1759), he served in Braddock's Expedition in 1755 and the Forbes Expedition in 1758. The outbreak of the American Revolution found him on the frontier. At first suspected of sympathizing with the British, he convinced the Americans of his loyalty.

Continental Army

Continental Army

The Continental Army was the army of the United Colonies representing the Thirteen Colonies and later the United States in the American Revolutionary War. It was formed on June 14, 1775 by a resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia after the war's outbreak. The Continental Army was created to coordinate military efforts of the colonies in the war against the British, who sought to maintain control over the American colonies. General George Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and maintained this position throughout the war.

George Washington

George Washington

George Washington was an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continental Congress as commander of the Continental Army, Washington led Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War and served as president of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which created and ratified the Constitution of the United States and the American federal government. Washington has been called the "Father of his Country" for his manifold leadership in the nation's founding.

Josiah C. Nott

Josiah C. Nott

Josiah Clark Nott was an American surgeon and anthropologist. He is known for his studies into the etiology of yellow fever.

Cherokee Phoenix

Cherokee Phoenix

The Cherokee Phoenix is the first newspaper published by Native Americans in the United States and the first published in a Native American language. The first issue was published in English and Cherokee on February 21, 1828, in New Echota, capital of the Cherokee Nation. The paper continued until 1834. The Cherokee Phoenix was revived in the 20th century, and today it publishes both print and Internet versions.

Anasarca

Anasarca

Anasarca is a severe and generalized form of edema, with subcutaneous tissue swelling throughout the body. Unlike typical edema, which almost everyone will experience at some time and can be relatively benign, anasarca is a pathological process reflecting a severe disease state and can involve the cavities of the body in addition to the tissues.

Syllabary and Cherokee literacy

As a silversmith, Sequoyah dealt regularly with European Americans who had settled in the area. He was impressed by their writing, and referred to their correspondence as "talking leaves". He knew that the papers represented a way to transmit information to other people in distant places, which his fellow American soldiers were able to do but he and other indigenous people could not. A majority of the Cherokee believed that writing was either sorcery, witchcraft, a special gift, or a pretense; Sequoyah accepted none of these explanations. He said that he could invent a way for Cherokees to talk on paper, even though his friends and family thought the idea was absurd.[10]

Creation

Sequoyah's syllabary in the order that he originally arranged the characters
Sequoyah's syllabary in the order that he originally arranged the characters

Around 1809, Sequoyah began creating a system of writing for the Cherokee language. Over the years, his approach was to use a pictograph or logographic system, where every word in the language had a character or symbol. As he failed to plant his fields, endangering his survival, his friends and neighbors thought he had lost his mind. His wife is said to have burned his initial work, believing it to be witchcraft. He realized that his first approach was impractical because it would require too many pictures to be remembered. He tried making a symbol for every idea, but this also caused too many problems to be practical.

Sequoyah's final attempt was to develop a symbol for each syllable in the language. Using the Bible as a reference along with adaptations from English, Greek, and Hebrew letters, by 1821 he created 86 symbols, later to be 85 symbols, that depict the syllables of the Cherokee language. The syllabary is not an alphabet but a chart or guide to represent each symbol that stands for a consonant-vowel sequence or a syllable. The symbols are written in a chart layout, with the columns being each vowel and the rows being each consonant.[1]

Teaching the syllabary

Sequoyah's six-year old daughter, Ayokeh (also spelled Ayoka),[1] helped him in his process to create the syllabary by being the first person to learn from it. Word spread in their town that they created a new way to communicate, and they were charged and brought to trial by the town chief. Sequoyah and Ayokeh were separated but still communicated by sending letters to one another. Eventually the warriors presiding over their trial, along with the town, believed that Sequoyah did in fact create a new form of communication, and they all wanted him to teach it to them.[7]

He traveled to the Indian Reserves in the Arkansas Territory, where some Cherokee had settled west of the Mississippi River. When he tried to convince the local leaders of the syllabary's usefulness, they doubted him. Sequoyah asked each leader to say a word, which he wrote down, and then called his daughter in to read the words back. This demonstration convinced the leaders to let him teach the syllabary to a few more people. This took several months, during which it was rumored that he might be using the students for sorcery. After completing the lessons, Sequoyah wrote a dictated letter to each student, and read a dictated response. This test convinced the western Cherokee that he had created a practical writing system.

When Sequoyah went to the eastern tribes, he brought a sealed envelope containing a written speech from one of the Arkansas Cherokee leaders. By reading this speech, he convinced the eastern Cherokee to also learn the system. And from there it continued to be taught across the Cherokee tribes and towns in the east.[11][12]

The syllabary was not hard for the Cherokee people to learn, and by 1830, 90% of Cherokees were literate in their own language.[13] Over time, naturally, tribes began to form their own dialects depending on what region they lived in. There are two main dialects, the Eastern and Western. The Eastern Dialect, also referred to as middle or Kituwa dialect, is spoken in the Qualla boundary in western North Carolina. This land was purchased by the Cherokees in the 1870s. The Western Dialect, also known as Overhill or Otali dialect, is spoken in eastern Oklahoma and North Carolina. There was a Southern dialect, also called lower dialect, spoken in South Carolina and Georgia until around 1900. But since no more Cherokee tribes reside there, that style of dialect is no more.[13]

A syllabary chart read left to right
A syllabary chart read left to right

Use in official documents and print

Cherokee Phoenix, 1828
Cherokee Phoenix, 1828

In 1825 the Cherokee Nation officially adopted the writing system. The Syllabary provided mass literacy for the Cherokee Nation, which was one of the first indigenous groups to have a functional written language. By the end of 1825, the Bible and hymns were translated into Cherokee. In 1826, the Cherokee National Council commissioned George Lowrey and David Brown to translate and print eight copies of the laws of the Cherokee Nation in the Cherokee language using Sequoyah's new system.

In 1828, the Cherokee Phoenix, religious pamphlets, educational materials, and legal documents were all made using the syllabary. The Cherokee Phoenix was the first bilingual newspaper in North America because it had both English and Cherokee languages.[14] This newspaper helped keep unity in a dispersed Cherokee Nation by allowing them to have their own network of communication and information. The syllabary was used for over 100 years to make newspapers, books, religious texts, and almanacs (calendars).[13]

When the Cherokee Nation purchased their first printing press, some of Sequoyah’s handwritten symbols needed to be modified. To make the symbols more clear, they were replaced by adaptations from the Roman alphabet, and used in the Syllabary from that point on.[14]

Discover more about Syllabary and Cherokee literacy related topics

Writing

Writing

Writing is a neuropsychological activity involving cognitive and physical processes and the use of writing systems to structure and translate human thoughts into persistent representations of human language. A system of writing relies on many of the same semantic structures as the language it represents, such as lexicon and syntax, with the added dependency of a system of symbols representing that language's phonology and morphology. Nevertheless, written language may take on characteristics distinctive from any available in spoken language.

Cherokee syllabary

Cherokee syllabary

The Cherokee syllabary is a syllabary invented by Sequoyah in the late 1810s and early 1820s to write the Cherokee language. His creation of the syllabary is particularly noteworthy as he was illiterate until the creation of his syllabary. He first experimented with logograms, but his system later developed into a syllabary. In his system, each symbol represents a syllable rather than a single phoneme; the 85 characters provide a suitable method for writing Cherokee. Although some symbols resemble Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Glagolitic letters, they are not used to represent the same sounds.

Pictogram

Pictogram

A pictogram, also called a pictogramme, pictograph, or simply picto, and in computer usage an icon, is a graphic symbol that conveys its meaning through its pictorial resemblance to a physical object. Pictographs are often used in writing and graphic systems in which the characters are to a considerable extent pictorial in appearance. A pictogram may also be used in subjects such as leisure, tourism, and geography.

Logogram

Logogram

In a written language, a logogram, logograph, or lexigraph is a written character that represents a word or morpheme. Chinese characters are generally logograms, as are many hieroglyphic and cuneiform characters. The use of logograms in writing is called logography, and a writing system that is based on logograms is called a logography or logographic system. All known logographies have some phonetic component, generally based on the rebus principle.

Witchcraft

Witchcraft

Witchcraft traditionally means the use of magic or supernatural powers to harm others. A practitioner is a witch. In medieval and early modern Europe, where the term originated, accused witches were usually women who were believed to have used malevolent magic against their own community, and often to have communed with evil beings. It was thought witchcraft could be thwarted by protective magic or counter-magic, which could be provided by cunning folk or folk healers. Suspected witches were also intimidated, banished, attacked or killed. Often they would be formally prosecuted and punished, if found guilty or simply believed to be guilty. European witch-hunts and witch trials in the early modern period led to tens of thousands of executions. In some regions, many of those accused of witchcraft were folk healers or midwives. European belief in witchcraft gradually dwindled during and after the Age of Enlightenment.

Arkansas Territory

Arkansas Territory

The Arkansas Territory was a territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1819, to June 15, 1836, when the final extent of Arkansas Territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Arkansas. Arkansas Post was the first territorial capital (1819–1821) and Little Rock was the second (1821–1836).

Cherokee Phoenix

Cherokee Phoenix

The Cherokee Phoenix is the first newspaper published by Native Americans in the United States and the first published in a Native American language. The first issue was published in English and Cherokee on February 21, 1828, in New Echota, capital of the Cherokee Nation. The paper continued until 1834. The Cherokee Phoenix was revived in the 20th century, and today it publishes both print and Internet versions.

Life in Indian Territory

After the Nation accepted his syllabary in 1825, Sequoyah traveled to the Cherokee lands in the Arkansas Territory. There he set up a blacksmith shop and a salt works. He continued to teach the syllabary to anyone who wished.

In 1828, Sequoyah journeyed to Washington, D.C., as part of a delegation to negotiate a treaty for land in the planned Indian Territory. While in Washington, D.C., he sat for a formal portrait painted by Charles Bird King (see image at the top of this article). He holds a copy of the syllabary in his left hand and is smoking a long-stemmed pipe. During his trip, he met representatives of other Native American tribes. Inspired by these meetings, he decided to create a syllabary for universal use among Native American tribes. Sequoyah began to journey into areas of present-day Arizona and New Mexico, to meet with tribes there.

In 1829, Sequoyah moved to a location on Big Skin Bayou, where he built Sequoyah's Cabin that became his home for the rest of his life. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.[15] (The present-day city of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, developed near here.) The house was operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society until it was purchased by the Cherokee Nation on 9 November 2016.[16]

In 1839, when the Cherokee were bitterly divided over the issue of removal to Indian Territory, Sequoyah joined with Jesse Bushyhead to try to reunite the Cherokee Nation. Sequoyah, representing the Western Cherokee, and Bushyhead representing the Eastern Cherokee, made a joint plea at a tribal council meeting at Takatoka on 20 June 1839. They succeeded in getting a voice vote to hold a new council of all Cherokee to resolve the reunification issues. This is when the Act of Union and a new Cherokee Constitution was created.[17]

Discover more about Life in Indian Territory related topics

Indian Territory

Indian Territory

The Indian Territory and the Indian Territories are terms that generally described an evolving land area set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of Native Americans who held aboriginal title to their land as a sovereign independent state. In general, the tribes ceded land they occupied in exchange for land grants in 1803. The concept of an Indian Territory was an outcome of the US federal government's 18th- and 19th-century policy of Indian removal. After the American Civil War (1861–1865), the policy of the US government was one of assimilation.

Blacksmith

Blacksmith

A blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects primarily from wrought iron or steel, but sometimes from other metals, by forging the metal, using tools to hammer, bend, and cut. Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils, and weapons. There was an historical distinction between the heavy work of the blacksmith and the more delicate operation of a whitesmith, who usually worked in gold, silver, pewter, or the finishing steps of fine steel. The place where a blacksmith works is called variously a smithy, a forge or a blacksmith's shop.

Delegation

Delegation

Delegation is the assignment of authority to another person to carry out specific activities. It is the process of distributing and entrusting work to another person, and therefore one of the core concepts of management leadership. The process involves managers deciding which work they should do themselves and which work should be delegated to others for completion. From a managerial standpoint, delegation involves shifting project responsibility to team members, giving them the opportunity to finalize the work product effectively, with minimal intervention. The opposite of effective delegation is micromanagement, where a manager provides too much input, direction, and review of delegated work. Delegation empowers a subordinate to make decisions. It is a shifting of decision-making authority as well as responsibility for the results from one organisational level to another lower one. However, a certain level of accountability for the outcome of the work does remain with the person who delegated the work to begin with.

Charles Bird King

Charles Bird King

Charles Bird King was an American portrait artist, best known for his portrayals of significant Native American leaders and tribesmen. His style incorporated Dutch influences, which can be seen most prominently in his still-life and portrait paintings. Although King's artwork was appreciated by many, it has also been criticized for its inaccurate depictions of Native American culture.

Arizona

Arizona

Arizona is a state in the Southwestern United States. It is the 6th-largest and the 14th-most-populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona is part of the Four Corners region with Utah to the north, Colorado to the northeast, and New Mexico to the east; its other neighboring states are Nevada to the northwest, California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

New Mexico

New Mexico

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern United States. It is one of the Mountain States of the southern Rocky Mountains, sharing the Four Corners region of the western U.S. with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona, and bordering Texas to the east and southeast, Oklahoma to the northeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora to the south. The state capital is Santa Fe, which is the oldest capital in the U.S., founded in 1610 as the government seat of Nuevo México in New Spain; the largest city is Albuquerque (1706).

Big Skin Bayou

Big Skin Bayou

Big Skin Bayou, also known as Skin Bayou or Big Skin Creek, is a tributary of the Arkansas River located in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma. It takes its name from the word "skein" which are loose, tangled layers of yarn. A large, colorful canebrake resembling yarn; formed a near impenetrable, natural wall near the mouth of the creek before it was cleared for farming. French trappers and explorers named several of the major tributaries of the Arkansas River in Oklahoma; as it was once a part of the French Territory of Louisiana that was later the Louisiana Purchase. At one time, there were large rock bluffs near Big Skin's confluence with the Arkansas. The bluff on the south side of the river and across from Big Skin's confluence was known as Swallow Rock, named for the birds that nested there and was the site of the old Fort Coffee. The bluff on the north side of the river and west of Big Skin is known as Wilson Rock. Both bluffs formed a natural wharf and served as historic steamboat landings and ferry crossings. The cemetery at Wilson Rock contains the graves of local residents as well as some travelers that fell victim to the river over the years. Tiana, the wife of the famed Texan Sam Houston was buried at Wilson Rock Cemetery for several years until she was moved to a cemetery near Fort Gibson. Wilson Rock and Big Skin Bayou were also drop off points for several groups of Cherokees that were forced to relocate to that part of Oklahoma/Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears. The relocated tribesmen that disembarked here would then follow the creek into the interior parts of Skin Bayou District where they settled. Most of eastern Sequoyah County was included in the "Skin Bayou District" of Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory; which also took its name from the creek.

Sequoyah's Cabin

Sequoyah's Cabin

Sequoyah's Cabin is a log cabin and historic site off Oklahoma State Highway 101 near Akins, Oklahoma. It was the home between 1829 and 1844 of the Cherokee Indian Sequoyah, who in 1821 created a written language for the Cherokee Nation. The cabin and surrounding park, now owned by the Cherokee Nation, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

National Historic Landmark

National Historic Landmark

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Only some 2,500 (~3%) of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

Oklahoma Historical Society

Oklahoma Historical Society

The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) is an agency of the government of Oklahoma dedicated to promotion and preservation of Oklahoma's history and its people by collecting, interpreting, and disseminating knowledge and artifacts of Oklahoma. The mission of the OHS is to collect, preserve, and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people.

Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation, also known as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is the largest of three Cherokee federally recognized tribes in the United States. It was established in the 20th century and includes people descended from members of the Old Cherokee Nation who relocated, due to increasing pressure, from the Southeast to Indian Territory and Cherokee who were forced to relocate on the Trail of Tears. The tribe also includes descendants of Cherokee Freedmen, Absentee Shawnee, and Natchez Nation. As of 2021, over 400,000 people were enrolled in the Cherokee Nation.

Jesse Bushyhead

Jesse Bushyhead

Jesse Bushyhead was a Cherokee religious and political leader, and a Baptist minister. He was born near the present-day town of Cleveland, Tennessee. As a young man, he was ordained a Baptist minister.

Final journey and death

1885 map of Zaragoza, Coahuila, México. Notice in parenthesis (S. Fernando de Rosas).
1885 map of Zaragoza, Coahuila, México. Notice in parenthesis (S. Fernando de Rosas).

Sequoyah dreamed of seeing reunification of the splintered Cherokee Nation. In the spring of 1842, he began a trip to locate other Cherokee bands who were believed to have fled to Mexico and attempted to persuade them to return to the Cherokee Nation, by then mostly residing in Indian Territory. He was accompanied by his son, Teesy (Chusaleta), as well as other Cherokee men identified as Co-tes-ka, Nu-wo-ta-na, Cah-ta-ta, Co-wo-si-ti, John Elijah, and The Worm:[10]

"In the summer of 1842, influenced perhaps by a desire to explore the Western prairies, and become acquainted with his Red Brethren, who roam them free and untrammlled [sic], Se-quo-yah, having loaded several pack horses with goods, visited, in company with a number of Cherokees, the Cumanche Indians. After remaining with them some time, he made his way with a son and two or three other Cherokees, into Northern Mexico, toward Chi-hua-hua, and engaged a while in teaching the Mexicans his native language."

— Mississippi Democrat, Carrollton, Mississippi, Wednesday Morning, January 22, 1845[18]

Sometime between 1843 and 1845, he died due to an estimated respiratory infection during a trip to San Fernando de Rosas in Coahuila, Mexico. A letter written in 1845 by accompanying Cherokee stated that he had died in 1843:[10]

Warren's Trading House, Red River,
April 21st, 1845.
We, the undersigned Cherokees, direct from the Spanish Dominions, do hereby certify that George Guess of the Cherokee Nation, Arkansas, departed this life in the town of San-fernando in the month of August, 1843, and his son Chusaleta is at this time on the Brasos River, Texas, about thirty miles above the falls, and he intends returning home this fall. Given under our hands the day and date written.

STANDING X ROCK (his mark)
STANDING X BOWLES (his mark)
WATCH X JUSTICE (his mark)

WITNESSES
Daniel G. Watson
Jesse Chisholm

The village of San Fernando de Rosas was later renamed as Zaragoza.

In 1938, the Cherokee Nation Principal Chief J. B. Milam funded an expedition to find Sequoyah's grave in Mexico.[19] A party of Cherokee and non-Cherokee scholars embarked from Eagle Pass, Texas, on January 1939. They found a grave site near a fresh water spring in Coahuila, Mexico, but could not conclusively determine the grave site was that of Sequoyah.[20]

In 2011, the Muskogee Phoenix published an article relating a discovery in 1903 of a gravesite in the Wichita Mountains by Hayes and Fancher, which they believed was Sequoyah's. The two men said the site was in a cave and contained a human skeleton with one leg shorter than the other, a long-stemmed pipe, two silver medals, a flintlock rifle and an ax. However, the site was far north of the Mexican border.[21]

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Sic

Sic

The Latin adverb sic inserted after a quoted word or passage indicates that the quoted matter has been transcribed or translated exactly as found in the source text, complete with any erroneous, archaic, or otherwise nonstandard spelling, punctuation, or grammar. It also applies to any surprising assertion, faulty reasoning, or other matter that might be interpreted as an error of transcription.

Mexico

Mexico

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico covers 1,972,550 square kilometers (761,610 sq mi), making it the world's 13th-largest country by area; with approximately 126,014,024 inhabitants, it is the 10th-most-populous country and has the most Spanish-speakers. Mexico is organized as a federal republic comprising 31 states and Mexico City, its capital. Other major urban areas include Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and León.

Jesse Chisholm

Jesse Chisholm

Jesse Chisholm was a Scotch-Cherokee fur trader and merchant in the American West. He is known for having scouted and developed what became known as the Chisholm Trail, later used to drive cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas in the post-Civil War period.

Zaragoza Municipality, Coahuila

Zaragoza Municipality, Coahuila

Zaragoza is one of the 38 municipalities of Coahuila, a state in north-eastern Mexico. The municipal seat lies at Zaragoza. The municipality covers an area of 8183.5 km². It is near the Mexico–US border with Texas.

Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation, also known as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is the largest of three Cherokee federally recognized tribes in the United States. It was established in the 20th century and includes people descended from members of the Old Cherokee Nation who relocated, due to increasing pressure, from the Southeast to Indian Territory and Cherokee who were forced to relocate on the Trail of Tears. The tribe also includes descendants of Cherokee Freedmen, Absentee Shawnee, and Natchez Nation. As of 2021, over 400,000 people were enrolled in the Cherokee Nation.

J. B. Milam

J. B. Milam

Jesse Bartley Milam (1884–1949) was best known as the first Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation appointed by a U.S. President since tribal government had been dissolved before Oklahoma Statehood in 1907. He was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, who reappointed him in 1942 and 1943; he was reappointed by President Harry S. Truman in 1948. He died while in office in 1949.

Eagle Pass, Texas

Eagle Pass, Texas

Eagle Pass is a city in and the county seat of Maverick County in the U.S. state of Texas. Its population was 28,130 as of the 2020 census.

Coahuila

Coahuila

Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Coahuila de Zaragoza, is one of the 32 states of Mexico.

Wichita Mountains

Wichita Mountains

The Wichita Mountains are located in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It is the principal relief system in the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen, being the result of a failed continental rift. The mountains are a northwest-southeast trending series of rocky promontories, many capped by 500 million-year old granite. These were exposed and rounded by weathering during the Pennsylvanian & Permian Periods. The eastern end of the mountains offers 1,000 feet (305 m) of topographic relief in a region otherwise dominated by gently rolling grasslands.

International influence

Sequoyah's work has had international influence, encouraging the development of syllabaries for other, previously unwritten languages. The news that an illiterate Cherokee had created a syllabary spread throughout the United States and its territories. A missionary working in northern Alaska read about it and created a syllabary, what has become known as Cree syllabics. This syllabic writing inspired other indigenous groups across Canada to adapt the syllabics to create writing for their languages.[22]

A literate Cherokee emigrated to Liberia, where he discussed his people's syllabary. A Bassa language speaker of Liberia was inspired to create his own syllabary, and other indigenous groups in West Africa followed suit, creating their own syllabaries.[22]

A missionary in China read about the Cree syllabary and was inspired to follow that example in writing a local language in China. The result of the diffusion of Sequoyah's work has been the development of a total of 21 known scripts, which have been used to write more than 65 languages.[22]

Legacy

Carnegie Museum of Art, Architecture Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Sequoyah Alphabet
Carnegie Museum of Art, Architecture Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Sequoyah Alphabet

Due to Sequoyah's contributions and achievements in Cherokee history, there are statues, monuments, museums, and paintings dedicated in his honor across the United States and in various genres.

Science:

Museums:

Paintings and pictures:

Statues and memorials:

  • Oklahoma gave a statue of Sequoyah to the National Statuary Hall Collection in 1917. This was the first statue representing a Native American to be placed in the hall. It was created by Vinnie Ream, and is displayed in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.[28]
  • A monument honoring Chief Sequoyah of the Cherokee Nation was dedicated in September 1932 at Calhoun, Georgia.[29] 34.530286°N 84.936806°W
  • 1939, a bronze panel with a raised figure of Sequoyah, by Lee Lawrie, was erected in his honor at the Library of Congress
  • A Sequoyah memorial was installed in front of the Cherokee Museum in North Carolina

Landmark:

Other:

  • Addressing the exalted place Sequoyah holds in Cherokee imagination, the ethnographer Jack Kilpatrick wrote: "Sequoyah was always in the wilderness. He walked about, but he was not a hunter. I wonder what he was looking for."[20]
  • Johnny Cash sang about Sequoyah in his 1964 song "The Talking Leaves"

In 1824, the General Council of the Eastern Cherokee awarded Sequoyah a large silver medal in honor of the syllabary. According to Davis, one side of the medal bore his image surrounded by the inscription in English, "Presented to George Gist by the General Council of the Cherokee for his ingenuity in the invention of the Cherokee Alphabet." The reverse side showed two long-stemmed pipes and the same inscription written in Cherokee. Sequoyah was said to wear the medal throughout the rest of his life and it was buried with him.

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Hall of Great Westerners

Hall of Great Westerners

The Hall of Great Westerners was established by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1958. Located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S., the Hall was created to celebrate the contributions of more than 200 men and women of the American West. Inductees include explorers, Native American leaders, writers, poets, politicians, statesmen and others.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is a museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, with more than 28,000 Western and American Indian art works and artifacts. The facility also has the world's most extensive collection of American rodeo photographs, barbed wire, saddlery, and early rodeo trophies. Museum collections focus on preserving and interpreting the heritage of the American West. The museum becomes an art gallery during the annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale each June. The Prix de West Artists sell original works of art as a fund raiser for the museum. The expansion and renovation was designed by Curtis W. Fentress, FAIA, RIBA of Fentress Architects.

Henry Inman (painter)

Henry Inman (painter)

Henry Inman was an American portrait, genre, and landscape painter.

National Portrait Gallery (United States)

National Portrait Gallery (United States)

The National Portrait Gallery is a historic art museum between 7th, 9th, F, and G Streets NW in Washington, D.C., in the United States. Founded in 1962 and opened to the public in 1968, it is part of the Smithsonian Institution. Its collections focus on images of famous Americans. The museum is housed in the historic Old Patent Office Building, as is the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

National Statuary Hall Collection

National Statuary Hall Collection

The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol is composed of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. Limited to two statues per state, the collection was originally set up in the old Hall of the House of Representatives, which was then renamed National Statuary Hall. The expanding collection has since been spread throughout the Capitol and its Visitor's Center.

Calhoun, Georgia

Calhoun, Georgia

Calhoun is a city in Gordon County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2020 census, the city had a population of 16,949. Calhoun is the county seat of Gordon County.

Lee Lawrie

Lee Lawrie

Lee Oscar Lawrie was an American architectural sculptor and a key figure in the American art scene preceding World War II. Over his long career of more than 300 commissions Lawrie's style evolved through Modern Gothic, to Beaux-Arts, Classicism, and, finally, into Moderne or Art Deco.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress (LOC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. Founded in 1800, it is the oldest federal cultural institution in the country. The library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. – the Thomas Jefferson Building (1897), the John Adams Building (1938) and the James Madison Memorial Building (1981); it also maintains a conservation center in Culpeper, Virginia, and a storage facility in Fort Meade, Maryland. The library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, and its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol. The Library of Congress is one of the largest libraries in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 470 languages."

National Historic Landmark

National Historic Landmark

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Only some 2,500 (~3%) of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

Great Americans series

Great Americans series

The Great Americans series is a set of definitive stamps issued by the United States Postal Service, starting on December 27, 1980, with the 19¢ stamp depicting Sequoyah, and continuing through 1999, the final stamp being the 55¢ Justin S. Morrill self-adhesive stamp. The series, noted for its simplicity and elegance, is a favorite of stamp collectors. It was replaced by the Distinguished Americans series, which began in 2000.

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

John R. Cash was an American country singer-songwriter. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later stages of his career. He was known for his deep, calm bass-baritone voice, the distinctive sound of his Tennessee Three backing band characterized by train-like chugging guitar rhythms, a rebelliousness coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor, free prison concerts, and a trademark all-black stage wardrobe, which earned him the nickname the "Man in Black".

Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian

Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian

Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian is a 1964 concept album, the twentieth album released by singer Johnny Cash on Columbia Records. It is one of several Americana records by Cash. This one focuses on the history of Native Americans in the United States and their problems. Cash believed that his ancestry included Cherokee, which partly inspired his work on this recording. The songs in this album address the harsh and unfair treatment of the indigenous peoples of North America by Europeans in the United States. Two deal with 20th-century issues affecting the Seneca and Pima peoples. It was considered controversial and rejected by some radio stations and fans.

Contemporary use of Cherokee

Cherokee is mainly spoken in Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Arkansas; between 1500 and 2100 people actively speak Cherokee in these three main areas. In a 2018 survey, it states that there are 1,200 Cherokee speakers who live in the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma, 217 speakers in the Eastern North Carolina, and 101 speakers in the United Keetoowah tribe of Cherokee in Arkansas. And that the majority of the Cherokee speakers are people over 40.[13]

Today, in the Cherokee nation (northeast Oklahoma) the syllabary is present on street signs and buildings, is the co-official language with English, and is taught in schools in Oklahoma and North Carolina. The Cherokee nation in the 21st century is trying to integrate this language into people's daily lives. Their goal in 2008 is to increase immersion programs in schools, encourage older Cherokee members to teach the younger generations, and in 50 years to have about 80% more of fluent Cherokee speakers. People of all ages are taught the language, parents and adults, children in schools, and it is offered at several universities in Oklahoma and North Carolina.[13]

During the time when white settler Indian Removal policies removed indigenous tribes from their lands, a process now known as the Trail of Tears, the use of the Cherokee language dropped dramatically. Use of any indigenous language in the government run Indian boarding schools resulted in some kind of physical punishment.[32] In the late 20th century, there was a revitalization of the Cherokee language with programs, run by three sovereign Cherokee tribes, and online courses.[14]

Namesake honors

  • A small Mississippian arrowhead found throughout the Midwest and upper south was named Sequoyah by James Brown in 1968.
  • The Sequoia trees in California were named Sequoia gigantea in 1847 by Austrian biologist Stephan Endlicher. While it was assumed that this was in honor of Sequoyah, this hypothesis has been questioned.[33] Twenty-first century research in Austria has established that Endlicher, also a published linguist, was familiar with Sequoyah's work.[34] See Chief Sequoyah, a Sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park.
  • A crystalline chemical compound found by distilling the needles of the trees was described by Georg Lunge and Th. Steinkaukler in 1880 and named sequoiene.[35]
  • The caterpillar of the sequoia-borer moth, a sesiid moth, was named Bembecia sequoiae.[10][36]
  • The name of the district where Sequoyah lived in present-day Oklahoma was changed to the Sequoyah District in 1851. When Oklahoma was admitted to the union, that area was recorded as Sequoyah County.[10]
  • The proposed State of Sequoyah was named in his honor.[10]
  • Sequoyah Research Center is dedicated to collecting and archiving Native American writing and literature.
  • Mount Sequoyah in the Great Smoky Mountains.
  • Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville, Arkansas was named in honor of him after the city donated the top of East Mountain to the Methodist Assembly for a retreat.
  • The Sequoyah Hills neighborhood of Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • The Tennessee Valley Authority Sequoyah Nuclear Plant was named for him.
  • The Sequoyah Marina on Norris Lake in Tennessee, upstream from Norris Dam on the Clinch River.
  • The USS Sequoia was a yacht officially used for decades by American presidents (it is now privately owned).
  • Sequoyah Caverns and Ellis Homestead is in Valley Head, Alabama.[37]
  • Sequoyah Country Club, Oakland, California[38]
  • Sequoyah Council – A Boy Scouts of America Council located in Northeast Tennessee.
  • The Sequoyah Book Award is chosen annually by students in Oklahoma.
  • Many schools have been named for him, including
    • Sequoyah High School, (now a middle school) Doraville, Georgia (Designed by architect John Portman)

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Sequoia (genus)

Sequoia (genus)

Sequoia is a genus of redwood coniferous trees in the subfamily Sequoioideae of the family Cupressaceae. The only extant species of the genus is Sequoia sempervirens in the Northern California coastal forests ecoregion of Northern California and Southwestern Oregon in the United States. The two other genera in the subfamily Sequoioideae, Sequoiadendron and Metasequoia, are closely related to Sequoia. It includes the tallest trees, as well as the heaviest, in the world.

Chief Sequoyah (tree)

Chief Sequoyah (tree)

Chief Sequoyah is a giant sequoia located within the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in California. It is the 9th largest tree in Giant Forest grove, the 27th largest giant sequoia in the world, and could be considered the 26th largest depending on how badly Ishi Giant atrophied during the Rough Fire in 2015.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California. The park was established on September 25, 1890, and today protects 404,064 acres of forested mountainous terrain. Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of, and contiguous with, Kings Canyon National Park; both parks are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. UNESCO designated the areas as Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976.

Georg Lunge

Georg Lunge

Georg Lunge was a German chemist born in Breslau. He studied at Heidelberg and Breslau, graduating at the latter university in 1859, to work with Ferdinand Cohn. Turning his attention to technical chemistry, he became chemist at several works both in Germany and England, and in 1876 he was appointed professor of technical chemistry at ETH Zurich.

Sequoyah County, Oklahoma

Sequoyah County, Oklahoma

Sequoyah County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2020 census, the population was 39,281. The county seat is Sallisaw. Sequoyah County was created in 1907 when Oklahoma became a state. It was named after Sequoyah, who created the Cherokee syllabary and its written language.

Mount Sequoyah

Mount Sequoyah

Mount Sequoyah is a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains, located in the Southeastern United States. It has an elevation of 6,003 feet above sea level. While the Appalachian Trail crosses its summit, Sequoyah is an 11.5-mile (18.5 km) hike from the nearest parking lot, making it one of the most remote places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province. The range is sometimes called the Smoky Mountains and the name is commonly shortened to the Smokies. The Great Smokies are best known as the home of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which protects most of the range. The park was established in 1934, and, with over 11 million visits per year, it is the most visited national park in the United States.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville is the second-largest city in Arkansas, the county seat of Washington County, and the biggest city in Northwest Arkansas. The city is on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains, deep within the Ozarks. Known as Washington until 1829, the city was named after Fayetteville, Tennessee, from which many of the settlers had come. It was incorporated on November 3, 1836, and was rechartered in 1867. The three-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 102nd in terms of population in the United States with 560,709 in 2021 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 98,203 in 2022.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville is a city in and the county seat of Knox County in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2020 United States census, Knoxville's population was 190,740, making it the largest city in the East Tennessee Grand Division and the state's third largest city after Nashville and Memphis. Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had an estimated population of 869,046 in 2019.

Sequoyah Nuclear Plant

Sequoyah Nuclear Plant

The Sequoyah Nuclear Plant is a nuclear power plant located on 525 acres (212 ha) located 7 miles (11 km) east of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, and 20 miles (32 km) north of Chattanooga, abutting Chickamauga Lake, on the Tennessee River. The facility is owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

Norris Dam

Norris Dam

Norris Dam is a hydroelectric and flood control structure located on the Clinch River in Anderson County and Campbell County, Tennessee, United States. The dam was the first major project for the Tennessee Valley Authority, which had been created in 1933 to bring economic development to the region and control the rampant flooding that had long plagued the Tennessee Valley. The dam was named in honor of Nebraska Senator George Norris (1861–1944), a longtime supporter of government-owned utilities in general, and supporter of TVA in particular. The infrastructure project was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Sequoyah Book Award

Sequoyah Book Award

The Sequoyah Book Award is a set of three annual awards for books selected by vote of Oklahoma students in elementary, middle, and high schools. The award program is named after Sequoyah, the Cherokee man who developed the Cherokee syllabary—a writing system adopted by Cherokee Nation in 1825. The awards are sponsored by the Oklahoma Library Association and administered by a committee of OLA members. Every year, three teams representing each award read and select books to be included on the master lists, which are then provided to Oklahoma schools for students to read and vote on. The winners are announced early spring of each year, and the winning authors are invited to the Association's annual conference to receive their awards and meet with students. The Sequoyah Children's Book Award, now voted by children in grades 3 to 5, was inaugurated in 1959. It is the third oldest U.S. state children's choice award after the original Kansas award and Vermont award. The Sequoyah Intermediate Book Award is voted by grades 6 to 8. It dates from 1988 where it was originally named the Young Adult award. Finally in 2010, the Sequoyah High School Book Award was added to the program. The Sequoyah Committee also selects the Donna Norvell Award; The Donna Norvell Book Award was established in 2005 by the Oklahoma Library Association and is given annually, with the first award given in 2006. The Donna Norvell Book Award honors a book that has made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children through second grade.

Source: "Sequoyah", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoyah.

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See also
Notes
  1. ^ As he himself signed his name.
  2. ^ As it is often spelled in Cherokee.
References
  1. ^ a b c Wilford, John Noble (22 June 2009). "Carvings From Cherokee Script's Dawn". New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Sequoyah | Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Sequoyah | The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture". www.okhistory.org. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  4. ^ Spring, Joel H. (2004). Deculturalization and the struggle for equality : a brief history of the education of dominated cultures in the United States (Fourth ed.). McGraw. p. 26.
  5. ^ Unseth, Peter (1 January 2016). "The international impact of Sequoyah's Cherokee syllabary". Written Language & Literacy. 19 (1): 75–93. doi:10.1075/wll.19.1.03uns. ISSN 1387-6732. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  6. ^ Vaughn, Trista (8 August 2018). ""Searching for Sequoyah" interviews UKB Member". United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.
  7. ^ a b c Society, National Geographic (13 November 2019). "Sequoyah and the Creation of the Cherokee Syllabary". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  8. ^ Chavez, Will. "1839 Cherokee Constitution born from Act of Union". cherokeephoenix.org. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Sequoyah". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
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  11. ^ G. C. (13 August 1820). "Invention of the Cherokee Alphabet". Cherokee Phoenix. Vol. 1, no. 24.
  12. ^ Boudinot, Elias (1 April 1832). "Invention of a New Alphabet". American Annals of Education.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Cherokee language, writing system and pronunciation". omniglot.com. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  14. ^ a b c "Cherokee language | Description & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  15. ^ Joseph Scott Mendinghall (9 December 1975), National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Sequoyah's Cabin (pdf), National Park Service and Accompanying 4 photos from 1975. (1.11 MB)
  16. ^ Indian Country Today November 2016
  17. ^ Chavez, Will. "1839 Cherokee Constitution born from Act of Union". cherokeephoenix.org. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Se-quo-yah, or George Guess". Mississippi Democrat. 22 January 1845.
  19. ^ J. B. Milam, McFarlin Library, University of Tulsa. Archived 11 January 2006 at the Wayback Machine Libraries & Cultures: Bookplate Archive. 2001 (retrieved 23 June 2009)
  20. ^ a b Meredith, Howard L. (1985).Bartley Milam: Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Muskogee, OK: Indian University Press, p. 47. ISBN 0-940392-17-8
  21. ^ Mullins, Jonita (13 November 2011). "Sequoyah's gravesite remains unknown". Muskogee Phoenix. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  22. ^ a b c Unseth, Peter (20 December 2016). "The international impact of Sequoyah's Cherokee syllabary". Written Language & Literacy. 19 (1): 75–93. doi:10.1075/wll.19.1.03uns.
  23. ^ Muleady-Mecham, Nancy E. (August 2017). "Endlicher and Sequoia: Determination of the Etymological Origin of the Taxon". Bulletin, Southern California Academy of Sciences. 116 (2): 137–146. doi:10.3160/soca-116-02-137-146.1. S2CID 89925020.
  24. ^ Simlot, Vinay (8 November 2022). "After decades, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians asks federal government to return land". WBIR News 10. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  25. ^ "Sequoyah Museum: The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum".
  26. ^ "Hall of Great Westerners". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Sequoyah". npg.si.edu. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Explore Capitol Hill". Architect of the Capitol. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  29. ^ "Monument honoring Chief Sequoyah of the Cherokee Indian Nation. Calhoun, Georgia. September 1932". Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archive. Georgia State University Library. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  30. ^ "Georgia on Stamps". GeorgiaInfo. 20 November 2014. Archived from the original on 20 November 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  31. ^ "Sequoyah". National Postal Museum. 8 May 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  32. ^ Lowe, John (October 2002). "Cherokee Self-Reliance". Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 13 (4): 287–295. doi:10.1177/104365902236703. ISSN 1043-6596. PMID 12325243. S2CID 30299719.
  33. ^ Lowe, Gary D. 2012. Endlicher's sequence: the naming of the genus Sequoia. Fremontia 40, nos. 1 & 2: 25–35.
  34. ^ Muleady-Mecham, Nancy. "Endlicher and Sequoia: Determination of the Entymological Origin of the Taxon Sequoia". Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences. Occidental College. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  35. ^ Gesellschaft, Deutsche chemische (1 July 1880). "Berichte der Deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin".
  36. ^ Scheidt, Laurel. Hiking Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2002: 68. ISBN 978-0-7627-1122-2 (retrieved through Google books, 23 June 2009)
  37. ^ "Sequoyah Caverns and Ellis Homestead".
  38. ^ "Welcome to Sequoyah Country Club". Retrieved 2 September 2010.
Bibliography
  • Bender, Margaret. (2002) Signs of Cherokee Culture: Sequoyah's Syllabary in Eastern Cherokee Life. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Feeling, Durbin. Cherokee-English Dictionary: Tsalagi-Yonega Didehlogwasdohdi. Tahlequah, Oklahoma: Cherokee Nation, 1975: xvii
  • Holmes, Ruth Bradley; Betty Sharp Smith (1976). Beginning Cherokee: Talisgo Galiquogi Dideliquasdodi Tsalagi Digoweli. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-1362-6.
  • Foreman, Grant, Sequoyah, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1938.
  • Langguth, A. J. Driven West: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War. New York, Simon & Schuster. 2010. ISBN 978-1-4165-4859-1.
  • McKinney, Thomas and Hall, James, History of the Indian Tribes of North America. (Philadelphia, PA, 1837–1844).
  • McLoughlin, William G., After the Trail of Tears: The Cherokees' Struggle for Sovereignty 1839 – 1880. University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill. 1993. ISBN 0-8078-2111-X.
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