VONORE, Tenn. (WATE) — A museum in Vonore strives to promote the understanding and appreciation of the history of the Cherokee people.

The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum tells the story of George Gist, who is better known as Sequoyah. He was the son of a Virginia fur trader and Cherokee mother and is best known for creating a written language for the Cherokee.

During his younger days, Sequoyah adapted many skills from making jewelry to drawing. He eventually become a blacksmith. It was then he devised an accounting numbering system so he could record how much people owed him. This system led him to his greatest creation.

“It was in 1809, in Sequoyah’s blacksmith’s shop, he announced we could create a writing system,” said Charlie Rhodarmer with the museum. “We could put our words on paper. And so, in 1809 he began a 12-year journey in trying to create the writing system – we know he tried different types of writing systems – but he finished in 1821. So this is the bicentennial of Sequoyah finishing his syllabary.”

Like Sequoyah’s heritage, the museum is the culmination of several groups coming together.

“When (the Tennessee Valley Authority) was going to close the locks and create Tellico Lake, it was agreed to by TVA and the Eastern Band, and the United States government that they would dedicate this property,” Rhodarmer said. “TVA dedicated the property, the federal government dedicated this property to be a memorial to Sequoyah. They even built the building. The original building is a memorial to Sequoyah.”

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The museum is owned and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.