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Sequoyah: Inventor of Written Cherokee

Overview

The United States was growing at a rapid pace. For the settlers who were pushing west to the frontier and the Native Americans who were protecting their lands, life was filled with danger and difficulties. People who wove their way into history overcame their challenges with a courage that defined an era and shaped a nation. Sequoyah, a Cherokee Indian, is best known for inventing a system of writing for the Cherokee language. In 1821, after more than a decade of work, he succeeded in creating a set of symbols to...
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Overview

The United States was growing at a rapid pace. For the settlers who were pushing west to the frontier and the Native Americans who were protecting their lands, life was filled with danger and difficulties. People who wove their way into history overcame their challenges with a courage that defined an era and shaped a nation. Sequoyah, a Cherokee Indian, is best known for inventing a system of writing for the Cherokee language. In 1821, after more than a decade of work, he succeeded in creating a set of symbols to represent the sounds of spoken Cherokee. The new written language was easy to learn and helped boost ethnic pride. Sequoyah won the respect of his people and was soon operating as a delegate in Cherokee dealings with the United States. He died in 1843 on a mission to unify the Cherokee people.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
The ability to state with certainty when you were born and who your parents were is a major component in determining how you feel about your place in life. In history, the Cherokee Indians had an oral tradition that carried stories from one generation to another, but they did not have a way to write down these stories or even to record the simplest things like births and deaths. The Cherokees saw the white people around them writing down images and thought that there must be magic in the things that they would write because of the way other people would gather around them as they wrote or as they talked after they had written. It was not until 1821 that the head council of the Cherokee Indian tribes would be presented with images that could be translated into documentation in a language unique to the Cherokee. This language was a result of work done by Sequoyah, a middle-aged Cherokee who developed the language and then taught it to his six year old daughter. This is the story of that work and of that man. The author has given the reader a unique glimpse into the world of the Cherokee through historical photographs, maps, and inset boxes. Appendices include a beautifully done timeline of Sequoyah's life, done in photographs and text, a glossary, related resources, source notes, and an index. This is a part of the "Signature Lives" series which chronicles the lives of historical figures that have made a difference at their place in time. This is a recommended biography for middle school collections.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8
Basel discusses the persecution and criticism Sequoyah faced-even from his wife, who burned down his house to stop him from working on the project-while persistently trying to capture the sounds of his language on paper. Seemingly to meet the 100-page assignment requirement for many students, a spacious 6-page "Life and Times" time line compares events in Sequoyah's life to world events. The book includes colorful period paintings, scanned primary-source documents, and modern-day color photographs on topics related to the Cherokee tribe. Sidebars are scattered throughout with sometimes oversimplified definitions or explanations of related topics, e.g., "The Delaware Indians were a group of Native Americans who had once lived along the Delaware River." While probably not a top choice for pleasure reading, this book adequately fulfills report needs. It has more detail than C. Ann Fitterer's Sequoyah: Native American Scholar (The Child's World, 2002).
—Madeline J. BryantCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Roberta Basel began her literary career as an editor for a children’s nonfiction publishing company. She became an author in 2004 and has written several children’s books since then. In addition to writing, Roberta serves as a freelance editor, proofreader, and fact-checker. She lives in southern Minnesota with her husband, Dustin, and their son, William.
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Table of Contents

Talking Leaves 9

A Cherokee Childhood 15

A Nation Deceived 23

Taming a Wild Animal 33

Spreading Like Fire 41

The Phoenix Rises 51

Treaties and Travels 59

Uniting the Nation 67

A Final Mission 77

The World Remembers a Genius 89

Life and Times 96

Life at a Glance 102

Additional Resources 103

Glossary 105

Source Notes 107

Select Bibliography 108

Index 109

Image Credits 112

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