Sequoyah, Creator of the Cherokee Written Language

Sequoyah

(c. 1770-1843)

WHO HE WAS:

Sequoyah, also known as George Gist or George Guess, was a Native American polymath of the Cherokee nation who single-handedly created the Cherokee syllabary, making reading and writing in Cherokee possible. His achievements led to a profound transformation in the literacy and culture of the Cherokee people.

WHAT HE SAID:

"I am not learned, but I have ascertained in the wilderness that I could do what I undertook to perform."

WHY HE MATTERED:

Sequoyah's creation of the syllabary in 1821 revolutionized the way the Cherokee people communicated and preserved their language. It contributed to a significant increase in literacy among the Cherokee and became a vital part of their identity and sovereignty, even influencing other Native American tribes to develop written languages.