Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

February 19, 2013

Sequoyah’s writing system

Greensburg — They called him Sequoya, and he gave his people a gift that will endure forever.

He gave them a writing system that allowed the greatness of the Cherokee to live as a part of history. Sequoya was born circa 1776 in a log cabin in the former village of Tuskeegee. He was the son of a Virginia fur trader and Wut-teh, daughter of a Cherokee chief.

Sequoya married a Cherokee woman and had a family. He and other Cherokee enlisted on the side of the United States under General Andrew Jackson to fight the British troops and the Creek Indians in the War of 1812.

During the war, Sequoya became convinced of the necessity of literacy for the Cherokee people. Unlike the white soldiers, he and other Cherokee were not able to write letters home, read military orders or record events as they occurred. When he returned home after the war, he began to make symbols that could make words. He finally reduced the thousands of Cherokee thoughts to 85 symbols representing sounds.

In 1821, after 12 years working on the new language, Sequoya introduced his syllabary to the Cherokee people. Within a few months, thousands of Cherokee became literate. By 1825, much of the Bible and numerous hymns had been translated into Cherokee. By 1828, they were publishing the “Cherokee Phoenix,” the first national bi-lingual newspaper, along with religious pamphlets, educational materials and legal documents.

In recognition of his contributions, the Cherokee Nation awarded Sequoya a silver medal struck in his honor and a lifetime literary pension. He continued to serve the Cherokee people until his death.

Travelers between Knoxville and Atlanta who are interested in the fascinating history of the Cherokee — their family life, customs, beliefs, and the sadness of the Trail of Tears, when they were forced to go to Oklahoma in the 1830s — the Cherokee museum along historic U.S. 411 is well-worth visiting.

On the same island as the museum is Fort Loudoun (1756-60), built by the British to protect the Cherokee frontier during the French and Indian War.

Across the river from the fort are the remains of the Tellico Blockhouse which garrisoned U.S. troops in the Cherokee area between 1794 and 1807. To the south are Red Clay State Park, near Cleveland, Tenn. The Van House near Chatsworth, Ga., and New Echota at Calhoun, Ga. The three sites are located near the U.S. Corridor.

Ben Morris, MA, RPA is an archaeological and historical consultant for the Daily News. He can be reached at 812-932-0298 or bjmorris1935@gmail.com.

 

1
Text Only
Columns
  • nei-gb042314 Spaulding Column headshot Jack Spaulding: Spring turkey hunting season off and running Indiana's 45th annual statewide spring turkey hunting began last Wednesday, April 23, and DNR wildlife research biologist Steve Backs is expecting harvest results similar to last year. Hunters may kill one male or bearded turkey in the spring season,

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • nei-gb042314-linda kennett column jpg Linda Hamer Kennett: Crate art Paper labels from 1880 to 1930, collectively referred to as "Crate Art," are a unique form of American Folk Art. Originally designed to be glued to the ends of wooden crates to identify produce during shipping, the graphically attractive labels are

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • nei-gb042314-pat smith column headshot Pat Smith: Pat's potpourri This is a Pat's Potpourri day. Sometimes bits and pieces of things that don't quite make a whole column, but are still interesting to readers and me, become a column. Roger Welage told me not long ago that he spent the first 25 years of his life on S

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • nei-gb042314-homemakers logo Eileen Fisse: Garden time nears First a reminder: Club dues are due May 1 to our county treasurer, and now is the time to register for the Home and Family Conference which is held in June. Also, a reminder to sign up to work at the fair. I want to thank those who already signed up

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maureen Hayden: Judge Richard Young described as “careful and thoughtful in his decisions" When U.S. District Judge Richard Young recently ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage, opponents of same-sex unions called him an activist judge who was unilaterally trampling the law. The label didn't

    April 22, 2014

  • Brian Howey: Doctors Brown and Bucshon become seekers Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is tha

    April 22, 2014

  • Thanks, Max

    Max Dickson has given the historical society a gift that many will enjoy for years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lee H. Hamilon: Government As Innovator? You Bet! Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion. People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: There are many reas

    April 17, 2014

  • How to deal with nuisance wild animals Most people enjoy watching wildlife and sometimes even interacting with critters on occasion. One of my favorite activities is keeping the bird feeder well supplied and seeing Hoosier song birds up close and personal. Sometimes there are situations w

    April 17, 2014

  • Self deposit box: Wolfsie takes a selfie of his check I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.