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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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U.S. Mint To Honor Sequoyah On Native American $1 Coin
by Cherokee Phoenix staff reports

WASHINGTON – The United States Mint will honor Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee Syllabary, on the reverse side of the 2017 Native American $1 coin, which continues to feature Shoshone guide Sacajawea on the front.

The reverse (tails side) design features a profile of Sequoyah writing “Sequoyah from Cherokee Nation” in syllabary along the border of the design. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “$1” and “Sequoyah” written in English in the field of the design.

“Having Sequoyah grace the U.S. dollar coin is a wonderful national recognition for our tribe’s renowned statesmen and creator of the Cherokee syllabary. Last year, the flip side of the Sacajawea dollar was a tribute to American Indian code talkers, and this year builds on the foundation of honoring the Indian people who have played a critical role in shaping our great country,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “From a Cherokee perspective, the look and message behind the United States’ currency has improved two-fold in 2016, with the emergence of the Cherokee language and Sequoyah’s image on the dollar coin that will be going into circulation in the coming year, coupled with the announced plans to remove Andrew Jackson from the face of the $20 bill. It is good to see the United States Treasury take Native history in America into account for its monetary creations.”

In an introduction to the coin, the U.S. Mint states, “Sequoyah adapted writing to the Cherokee language by devising symbols for each syllable. His achievement is one of a handful of examples in world history regarding the development of an original writing system. After 12 years of work, Sequoyah unveiled the alphabet in a demonstration with his daughter Ah-yo-ka. News spread quickly and Cherokees flocked to learn the system. In 1821, the Cherokee Nation adopted it as its own. Within months, thousands of Cherokee became literate.”

Sequoyah’s contribution to the Cherokee people also gave birth to Native American journalism. The first American Indian newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, included editorials, which embodied the Cherokees' determination to retain their lands, news on activities of the Cherokee government, as well as relations with the federal and state governments.

“This written language helped create a dialogue between Cherokee Nation and the United States Government, and assisted in the preservation of interests, hopes and struggles of individuals during a unique time in our history,” U.S Mint officials stated.

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