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Publisher's Summary

Tragically, Cherokees are one of America's best known tribes due to the trials and tribulations they suffered by being forcibly moved west along the "Trail of Tears", but that overlooks the contributions they made to American society well before the 19th century. Cherokees began the process of assimilation into European America very early, even before the establishment of the Unites States, and by the early 19th century they were one of the "five civilized tribes". Despite all of the hostilities and the Trail of Tears, Cherokees ultimately became the first people of non-European descent to become US citizens en masse, and today the Cherokee Nation is the largest federally recognized tribe in the United States, boasting over 300,000 members.

The Cherokees might be the most famous tribe in the country. If so, the person most responsible for it is Sequoyah, whose invention of the Cherokee syllabary also played a prominent role in facilitating the assimilation between the Cherokee and Americans. Sequoyah began work on devising the writing and reading system around 1809, and it was instantly popular among Cherokees, to the extent that it was being used in written publications among the tribe by the 1820s. The syllabary has been in use ever since, both within the tribe and among outsiders.

Thanks to his accomplishments, Sequoyah was celebrated in his own lifetime, but due to his obscure roots, accounts of his early years still vary dramatically. Sequoyah: The Life and Legacy of the Most Famous Cherokee looks at the life and work of the man who put the Cherokee language down in print and made it possible for outsiders to both read and write it.

©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors

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