Sequoyah – A Cherokee Indian Leader
Invented the Cherokee written language
Sequoyah (c. 1770-1843), was the son of a Cherokee chief's daughter and a fur trader from
Virginia. He was a warrior and hunter and, some say, a silversmith. For twelve years he worked
to devise a method of writing for the Cherokee language. His syllabary of eighty-five symbols,
representing vowel and consonant sounds, was approved by the Cherokee chiefs in 1821, and the
simple utilitarian system made possible a rapid spread of literacy throughout the Cherokee
nation. Never before, or since, in the history of the world has one man, not literate in any
language, been know to have perfected a system for reading and writing a language. In 1828 the
Cherokee Phoenix, a weekly bilingual newspaper, began publication at New Echota, Georgia.
Missionaries translated hymns and the New Testament into the Cherokee native language.
Sculpture of Sequoyah
By Joe Kenney - Clay, Work in Process
Links to website with information about Sequoyah and Cherokees:
Joe Kenney Sculpture Studio