|Died||1843 (aged 72–73)|
|Other names||George Guess or Gist|
|Occupation||silversmith, blacksmith, teacher, soldier|
|Known for||Inventing a syllabary for Cherokee language|
|Spouse(s)||1st: Sally (maiden name unknown), 2nd: U-ti-yu|
|Children||Four with first wife, three with second|
|Parent(s)||Wut-teh and unidentified father|
Childhood[change | change source]
Making the syllabary[change | change source]
Sequoyah met many white people. He was fascinated by their "talking leaves," which was their writing system on paper. He wanted to make an alphabet for Cherokees to communicate too. He began making it around 1809. First he tried to make a symbol for every word, like in Chinese. That required too much remembering. Then he tried to make one for every idea, but gave up. Finally he made one symbol for every syllable in the Cherokee language. He made a syllabary with 86 letters. Many of the letters look like English because he had an English book that he could not read.
He taught the syllabary to his daughter, Ayokeh (Ayoka). Then he tested it in front of a group of leaders. They said a word, he wrote it down, and then Ayokeh repeated them. Originally people thought it was witchcraft, but then they started liking his syllabary. Many Cherokee learned it and eventually became literate, which means they could read and write. In fact, more Cherokees could read and write better than nearby white people.
Influence[change | change source]
Sequoyah became a hero for giving Cherokee people a written language. Cherokee is still taught and used. There are now 85 symbols, instead of the original 86.
References[change | change source]
- Wilford, John Noble (22 June 2009). "Carvings From Cherokee Script's Dawn". New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
Other websites[change | change source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sequoyah.|
- "Invention of the Cherokee Alphabet", Cherokee Phoenix, 13 Aug 1828
- John B. Davis, "The Life and Work of Sequoyah", Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol.8 (2), June 1930, Oklahoma State University
- "Sequoyah", Tiro Typeworks
- "Sequoyah (aka George Gist)", a North Georgia Notable
- The Cherokee Nation Official Website
- "The Official Cherokee Font" at the Cherokee Nation Official Website
- Sequoyah at Find a Grave