VONORE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Cherokee Nation announced it is honoring the man who gave the Cherokee people their own written language by declaring Oct. 15 as “Sequoyah Day.” The principal chief of the Cherokee Nation signed the “Sequoyah Day” proclamation at a gathering in Oklahoma this week.

Sequoyah is a significant figure in East Tennessee because of his historic presence in the Monroe County area, where the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is located and offers classes in the Cherokee language created by him. Back in July, the museum honored Sequoyah by offering free admission on its “Sequoyah Remembrance Day” for locals to learn about his major contribution to the Cherokee people.

According to the museum, Sequoyah was born circa-1776 in the village of Tuskegee, near modern-day Vonore. He spent most of his life in the Overhill Cherokee area, where he began creating a Cherokee writing system. After 12 years of work, Sequoyah finished the Syllabary in 1821 while living in Willstown, Ala. The Cherokee Nation adopted the Syllabary and within two years, most of the Cherokee people had become literate in their own language. After living a brief time in Arkansas, Sequoyah moved to the Indian Territory, known today as Oklahoma. Sequoyah reportedly died in August 1843 on a voluntary trip to the Texas/Mexico area in search of another group of Cherokees that had left the Overhill Cherokee area during the American Revolution.

Because of Sequoyah’s creation of the Cherokee Syllabary, the Cherokee Nation is honoring him on the 200th anniversary.

At the proclamation signing in Oklahoma this week, the Cherokee Nation’s language department translated the proclamation into Cherokee Syllabary and worked with John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark., to produce the Cherokee proclamation on a printing press using special commissioned Syllabary typeset.

If you want to learn more about Sequoyah and the Cherokee Syllabary locally, the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is located at 576 Hwy. 360, Vonore, TN, 37885, about one mile from the Highway 411 intersection. For more information, call (423) 884-6246.