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Cherokee alphabet

Sequoyah, Cherokee Alphabet Inventor

Sequoyah (1770s-1843) is most remembered today for inventing an alphabet to help the Cherokee become literate in the Cherokee language. He was an advocate of reading and an early proponent of becoming literate in one’s own language before learning the languages and language mechanics of other groups.

According to the website of The Sequoyah Museum in Vonore, Tennessee: “…this great Cherokee Indian gave his people an enduring gift. He gave them a writing system – so that the greatness of the Cherokee Nation will live forever.”

Read more about this iconic historical figure here: https://www.allthingscherokee.com/sequoyah. Information about his syllabary can be found here: http://www.sequoyahmuseum.org/history/sequoyahs-syllabary.

The Place

The Sequoyah Museum is located at 576 Highway 360 in East Tennessee within the Great Smoky Mountains. To arrange a visit, click here for information and instructions: http://www.sequoyahmuseum.org/visit. Visitors are asked to pay a small entry fee. The Sequoyah Museum offers lectures, workshops, and special events connected to Sequoyah and the history and culture of the Cherokee people.

Vonore is only 12 square miles and the population is very small, as it has long been. That said, the town has grown slightly in recent years, in the wake of an overall population increase in the state of Tennessee in general.

Families may also enjoy visiting the town of Cherokee, with its stadium-size performances, interactive exhibits, and state-of-the-art museum, complete with holograms!

Given all the tourists the area attracts, it is worth the time to head over to Vonore to find out how such an important heritage within US history was first captured into words.


Read more about Sequoyah through our Oklahoma Author Adventures page.

The Sequoyah Museum is the final stop on our Tennessee Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart