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Why did Sequoyah create a writing system?

Working on his own over a twelve-year span, Sequoyah created a syllabary—a set of written symbols to represent each syllable in the spoken Cherokee language. This made it possible for the Cherokee to achieve mass literacy in a short period of time.

How did Sequoyah learn about writing?

Sequoyah was a silversmith, a person who makes things with silver. Sequoyah wanted to write his name on his work but did not know how to write English. The Cherokee people had no way to write their language. Sequoyah visited a farmer named Charles Hicks who taught him how to write his name in English.

Did Sequoyah invent the alphabet?

Sequoyah completed his syllabary around 1821. When it was adopted by the Cherokee Nation, they became the first Native Americans to have their own alphabet and writing system. Sequoyah’s early 19th century invention continues to be used today – and in recent years has even entered a new frontier.

What is the connection between the alphabet writing system created by Sequoyah and tradition?

An alphabet uses individual symbols for consonants and vowels. Sequoyah’s writing system was directly connected to spoken Cherokee. Its 86 symbols represented consonant and vowel combinations – syllables. This is why written Cherokee, or Tsalagi Gawonihisdi, is correctly called a syllabary, not an alphabet.

Why was it important for the Cherokee to be able to write?

Sequoya was not literate in any European language when he devised the syllabary. Sequoyah realized that one of the most important advantages of the Euroamericans over the Cherokee was their ability write. With Sequoyah’s syllabary, the Cherokee quickly learned how to read and write in their own language.

How much Native American do you need to be to get benefits?

Most tribes require a specific percentage of Native “blood,” called blood quantum, in addition to being able to document which tribal member you descend from. Some tribes require as much as 25% Native heritage, and most require at least 1/16th Native heritage, which is one great-great grandparent.