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Sequoya

{suh-kwoy'-uh}

Sequoya, or George Guess, b. c.1760, d. Aug. 1843, is credited with the invention of the Cherokee written language, the so-called talking leaves. As a young man he was a fine hunter, warrior, trader, and silver craftsman. An able linguist who learned French, Spanish, and English, he was determined to preserve Cherokee culture and was implacably opposed to American intrusions into his tribal lands. After continued white encroachments, however, Sequoya journeyed westward (1797), although he returned periodically to his homeland.

Recognizing the power of the written word, Sequoya developed a Cherokee syllabary of 86 symbols by adapting letters of the English alphabet to represent sounds in the Cherokee tongue. The generally accepted date for its completion is 1821, although Cherokee tradition dates the syllabary earlier. Although there is some question whether Sequoya was its inventor, he certainly popularized the syllabary, which led to the founding of the Cherokee Phoenix, a Cherokee language newspaper, on Feb. 21, 1828.


Cherokee (Tsalagi) Language Sylabus

Character Name
----------------
e
ge
he
le
me
ne
que
se
de
te
tle
ye
o
go
ho
lo
mo
no
quo
so
do
tlo
tso
wo
a
ga
ha
la
ma
na
qua
sa
da
yo
yu
yv
wa
ya
ka
hna
ta
i
gi
hi
li
mi
ni
qui
si
di
ti
tli
tsi
wi
yi
u
gu
hu
lu
mu
nu
quu
su
du
tlu
tsu
wu
v
gv
hv
lv
nv
quv
sv
dv
tlv
tla
nah
s
dla
tsa
tsv
wv
tse
we



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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.