Wednesday, May 26, 2010

S is for Sequoyah's Syllabary, Sogwali, Sequoia

Bonjour from Campagne Maison


Sequoyah 1776- 1843


Sogwali was born in 1776 in the village of Tuskeegee, near Vonore, TN about a twenty minute drive from Campagne Maison. His mother, Wut-teh was the daughter of a Cherokee Chief. His father, Nathaniel Gist, was a white Virginian fur trader. Sogwali's name was changed to Sequoyah by the missionaries but he was known to the white man as George Gist.

Sequoyah became a Silversmith by trade. He married a Cherokee and had a family. Along with other Cherokees, Sequoyah 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.

Although Sequoyah was exposed to the concept of writing early in his life, he never learned the English alphabet. Unlike the white soldiers, he and the other Cherokees were not able to write letters home, read military orders, or record events as they occurred. Driven by the desire to see literacy for his people, after the war, Sequoyah began in earnest to create a writing system for the Cherokees. He started by making symbols that could make words and reduced the thousands of Cherokee thoughts down to 85 symbols representing those sounds.

Sequoyah devised a game of this new writing system and taught his little girl, Ayoka, how to make the symbols. In 1821, after 12 years working on the new language, he and his daughter introduced his syllabary to the Cherokee people. Within a few months thousands of Cherokees became literate.


Sequoyah's Syllabary

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 Sequoyah a silver medal and a lifetime pension. He continued to serve Cherokee people as a statesman and diplomat until his death.


The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is located in Vonore, TN, Loudon County, TN. It is open Mon - Sat, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from noon until 5:00 p.m. It is the property of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians whose mission strives to promote the understanding and appreciation of the history of the Cherokee people.


"Never before, or since, in the history of the world, has one man--not literate in any language, perfected a system for reading and writing a language" (taken from www.sequoyahmusuem.org/ website)

It was also noted that the great Sequoia trees were named in his honor!

I am linking up with Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday for this week's letter "S". Grab her button on my sidebar and head on over there to read all the other great "S" words.

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company!

Au revoir,

http://www.wikipedia.com/

22 comments:

Doris Sturm said...

That was very interesting. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I love learning new things every day and I'm glad I took the time to read this.

I hope you'll have a great day tomorrow.

Doris :-)

Short and Sweet said...

Very informative and thank you for sharing such history.

Anonymous said...

That's interesting. I did not know that. To create a writing system from nothing and educate his people is amazing. I was never taught that in school.

Always Nesting said...

Love all the history and I had no idea about the naming of Sequoia trees. I can tell you are definitely a lifelong learner.

GardenofDaisies said...

I did learn that in school, and thought he was amazing!

baukje said...

Beautiful post, amazing that he did this .... Imagine to create a writing system, this must have been a very intelligent man...

amariaf2000 said...

WOW - that is awesome! And to have a tree (that's on the west coast) named after him...sweet! Amazing talent that was used purposefully ~ that's a wonderful thing to read about! Thanks for sharing!

~angela @ peonypatch
www.mccalled.com/peonypatch

jeff campbell said...

Hello Jacque...I came so close to posting on Sequoya...glad I did not...great post girl! Namaste

Brenda said...

Some interesting facts. Thanks for sharing.

Viki said...

This was so interesting how he came up with writing for his people. I wouldn't even begun to understand how someone does that ;-) I loved learning about him. Thanks for sharing.

H said...

What an impressive, inventive man! Very interesting post! Thank you :)

Cheryl said...

You did it again! Coming here is such a joy in learning something new and interesting. This is a fabulous story. Too bad the medal didn't have his proper name, don't you think?

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

That was very interesting. By the way, you live in a beautiful state. I love TN.

Jenny said...

What a informative stop on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's Letter "S"!

Each week I learn something new from my stop here.

And each week I wonder where you find all these obscure facts?

I really enjoy seeing what you will think of for each letter!

This is one of my favorite stops each week!

A+

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

This is just amazing! Love the new learning on your blog and thank you so much!

Pondside said...

That was so interesting! During the winter I listened to a series about the Cherokee people on CBC radio. We have Sequoia trees here, but I didn't know the origin of the name - thanks!

Jo said...

this was a really interesting post! He must have been an amazing man!

Ana said...

This is so awesome Jacque...What a cool historical fact..I didn't know this. I learned something new today. Thanks for sharing. Sending you all my best my dear friend. Have a wonderful weekend.

Always in my heart,
♥Ana

Sea Witch said...

Oh Jacque, how I love this post. I am a huge fan of the American Indian tribes and lore. I remember studying Sequoyah's alphabet in school and even then I was amazed that a single man could devise an alaphabet and have his people become literate in months. Amazing what the human mind and spirit can do. One of your best alphabet posts. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Sea Witch

Nadeen said...

I never knew this but am not surprised either. There are lots of people out there who carried our generations on to the next in mighty ways.

thanks for the post

Christy said...

I remember learning this a long time ago. I didn't appreciate his accomplishments until now. Superb S post!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Your post was a very interesting lesson to learn about. How amazing that was for him to create the Cherokee's written language! What an impact to this Indian nation.

Blessings & Aloha!
I am getting around to more S posts...little by little :o) hope you get a chance to pop over and if you do please leave a comment so that I know you were there :o)