SEPTEMBER 1, 2010
Primary Source of
Front page of the first issue of the Cherokee Phoenix. Courtesy of the Digital Library of Georgia.
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October 14, 2010
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by Oct. 31, 2010
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Games, activities, and resources about life in colonial America.
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VOLUME 9, ISSUE 1
"The Cherokee Alphabet"
There are many different versions of the story of Sequoyah and his syllabary, but most point to Sequoyah as the creator of the written Cherokee language. The syllabary is not an alphabet; rather, each symbol stands for a syllable in the Cherokee language. Sequoyah began experimenting with his syllabary around 1809 and introduced it to tribal elders in 1821. Despite some revisions over the years, the majority of Sequoyah's syllabary is still in use today.
Primary Source of the Month:
The widespread use of Sequoyah's syllabary gave the Cherokee Nation the opportunity to create a newspaper in its own language. The paper was bilingual, with articles appearing in Cherokee adjacent to their English counterparts. It was published out of a small printing office in the Cherokee Nation's capital of New Echota, Georgia, but had a national and even international reach.
Teaching Strategy: Sequoyah's Talking Leaves
Sequoyah realized the power of written language when he observed the use of "talking leaves"papers with words on themby white settlers. He realized a written language would help the Cherokee preserve their stories and histories and greatly improve the flow of information. This lesson will model the evolution of the Cherokee language from oral to written. In the first part of the lesson, the teacher tells the story of Sequoyah and his creation of the Cherokee syllabary in an interactive style. In the second part of the lesson, the students recreate the story in written form using "talking leaves."
Colonial Williamsburg Teaching Resources for Your Classroom
Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of quality
instructional materials dealing with 18th-century
- Teaching Literacy Through History (Lesson Unit)
- American Indian Bandolier Bag (Hands-on History Kit)
- Eye of the Beholder (Lesson Unit)
Hawaii EFT Scholarships Available
Thanks to a generous Colonial Williamsburg donor, up to 30 Hawaiian public elementary schools can receive the 2010-2011 Electronic Field Trip series at no charge (a $500 value per school). This Emmy award-winning series consists of 7 live broadcasts that can be streamed via the Web or watched on the Hawaii Department of Education Teleschool Channel 56. Each Electronic Field Trip and its companion resources are aligned to your state standards and integrate reading/literacy, civics, history, and technology standards. If you are interested, please contact us at: EFTsupport@cwf.org with the subject line HAWAII GRANT or call 1-800-761-8331.
Quotation of the Month
"Your invention of the alphabet is worth more to your people than two bags full of gold in the hands of every Cherokee."
—Attributed to Sam Houston, Governor of Tennessee (1827-1829), President of the Republic of Texas (1836-1838 and 1841-1844), Senator from Texas (1846-1859), and Governor of Texas (1859-1861). He was an adopted member of the Cherokee Nation and lived with them several times during his life.