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Sequoyah



Sequoyah
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.91

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    giganteum, sempervirens, syllabary, impressed, wealthy, writing, literate, negotiate, politics, redwood, silversmith, contribution, chief, syllable, miner, trader
     content words:    North Carolina, Cherokee Nation, Nathaniel Gist, George Gist, Native American, Cherokee Regiment, Creek War, Horseshoe Bend, George Lowry, Cherokee Phoenix


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Sequoyah
By Mary L. Bushong
  

1     When North Carolina was established as a British colony, some of the land was in what we now call Tennessee. The mountains and hills were covered with forests. It was in this place that a man named Sequoyah was born. It was through his efforts that the Cherokee Nation got their own written language.
 
2     When Sequoyah was born in what is now called Tuskegee, Tennessee, good birth records were not kept. It is thought that he was born between 1760 and 1770. His father was a Virginia trader named Nathaniel Gist, and his mother, Wut-teh, was the daughter of a Cherokee chief. When their child was born, he was given two names, Sequoyah and George Gist.
 
3     Many times Native American names are words that tell us something about a person. Some people think that Sequoyah was handicapped with a deformed foot. His name Sequoyah in Cherokee is Sikwo-yi. It means "pig's foot." In any case, it did not stop him from growing into a strong, young warrior.
 
4     When he was a young man, Sequoyah moved away from home and went to Georgia, because he thought there were too many white people near his former home. While he was there, he learned about the silversmith trade. One day a man purchased one of his silver pieces and told him he should sign his work. Sequoyah had a problem. He had never learned to read or write, so he was unable to put his name on his work.

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