Sequoyah


What did Sequoyah do to help his people?

Who was Sequoyah?

Sequoyah is famous for creating an alphabet that could be used to write the Cherokee language. He was the first person ever to develop an alphabet entirely on his own, and the result was the first written Native American language.

Sequoyah's alphabet had 86 characters that represented syllables instead of letter sounds.  

Sequoyah, grew up at a time when life was changing in the traditional Cherokee homeland. Influenced by white settlers, many Cherokee were turning from hunting to dairy farming and other occupations.

His alphabet quickly became accepted. In 1827, the Cherokee used the alphabet to write a constitution. The following year the Cherokee Phoenix, a Cherokee-language newspaper, began publication. That year, Sequoyah was forced to move west to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears.

A statue of Sequoyah presented by the state of Oklahoma stands in Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.