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Q: How significant is Sequoyah's syllabary to the
Tsalagi people? How
important has it been historically over the years?
A: The syllabary has been greatly
important to the Cherokee people because it has
increased literacy in their native language.
Consequently there is a strong tradition of literature
within the Cherokee language which does not exist in
many other tribes. Before they were forced to move to
Oklahoma, the Cherokee were one of the most powerful
and influential Indian tribes and had higher rates of
successful bilingualism, literacy in both Cherokee and
English, and overall educational level than other
Indians who did not have the benefit of a native
writing system. Even after they were forcibly moved to
Oklahoma without any of their belongings, the Cherokee
language remains healthier than many of the
neighboring languages which are teetering on the edge
of extinction. Additionally, the syllabary has
provided a source of Cherokee pride.
Hope that helps!
Native Languages of the Americas
Cherokee language lesson
Cherokee Indian history
Cherokee Indian names
Oklahoma Native Americans
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