Sequoyah's Gift: A Portrait of the Cherokee Leader

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9780060212360: Sequoyah's Gift: A Portrait of the Cherokee Leader

Chronicles the life of the extraordinary nineteenth-century Cherokee leader who, recognizing the need for written record of Cherokee culture, created a system of writing for the Cherokee language.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

As Duane King of the Smithsonian points out in the afterword here, ``Sequoyah is the only individual in five thousand years of recorded history known to have devised a complete writing system without first being literate in some language.'' In 1821, after years of opposition from his family, friends, and tribe, he completed his syllabary of 85 symbols and the Cherokee became the first literate Indian nation, publishing nearly 14 million pages (largely in translation) before 1861. Sequoyah also served under Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812, and later fought the injustice that cost his people their land and put them on the Trail of Tears. Though he wrote a great deal, apparently nothing survives and few facts are known about him. Drawing on secondary sources, Klausner uses generally accepted information about Cherokee life to create her portrait of a uniquely gifted man and honored and respected leader. Though she adds nothing new, this is useful and readable. ``Places to Visit''; lengthy ``Selected Sources'' but no list of other books for young people, of which there are several; map and 20 photos not seen; no index. (Biography. 9-14) -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8-This accessible and well-written biography presents one of the more complex accounts for this audience of the Cherokee leader who accomplished the stunning intellectual feat of inventing a complete writing system for a theretofore unwritten language without first being literate. Although legend and mystery surround the man, Klausner offers as much as is known or can be discerned about him by gleaning information from a wide variety of primary sources, cited in her extensive bibliography. Clearly written and well paced, the subject's story is told against the background of one of the most momentous events in the tribe's history, the removal of the Nation from the southeastern states to Indian Territory along the Trail of Tears. Seamlessly weaving these larger events with the smaller details of Sequoyah's life, the author lets his linguistic achievements predominate without overwhelming the narrative. Well-chosen black-and-white photos are included. A well-rounded portrait of a prominent Native American.
Lisa Mitten, University of Pittsburgh, PA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Janet Klausner, Duane H. King (Illustrator)
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