Sequoyah was a Cherokee Indian. He was born in 1760 in present day East Tennessee. Sequoyah worked for many years as a trader then became a silversmith as well as a blacksmith.
At this point in time the Cherokee Indians did not have a written form of communication. They could not read or write. Sequoyah was a very smart man. He started thinking a written system for the Cherokee Indians to use that was tailored to their native language.
The Cherokee Syllabary
It took Sequoyah twelve years to create the Cherokee syllabary. It consists of 85 syllables that coordinate with sounds. The first person he taught to read and write was his daughter, A-Yo-Ka. She was six years old.
Not everyone thought Sequoyah was doing the right thing. He was arrested and had to go to a trial where the town chief separated Sequoyah and A-Yo-Ka. They made them communicate in the written text before they believed he had indeed invented a written form of communication for the Cherokee Indians to use.
Many learn to read & write
It only took a few years for most of the Cherokee Indians to learn the syllabary. The Cherokee nation credits Sequoyah for the ability to communicate across long distances. They are also now able to preserve the history and culture through writing.