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Sequoyah, also known as George Gist (or Guess), was the product of a Virginia fur trader and the daughter of a Cherokee Chief. He was born in 1776 near Tuskeegee, TN and died in 1843, near Tyler, TX, although his home was said to be near Sallisaw, OK.

He is credited with creating the first Cherokee "alphabet" called the "Talking Leaves", 85 "letters", or syllabary, that made up the language. The Nation officially adopted the written language in 1821, 12 years after he began his task. This alphabet eventually led to the printing of "Tsa la gi Tsu lehisanunhi" or "The Cherokee Phoenix", the Nation's first newspaper, in 1828. It is still in circulation today, known as "The Cherokee Phoenix and Indian Advocate."