# 63 - Sequoyah, Cherokee Indian Museum, Cherokee Reservation NC
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member GA Cacher
N 35° 29.074 W 083° 18.950
17S E 289911 N 3929247
Quick Description: This is Peter Toth's 63 Whispering Giant sculptures. Sculptor Peter Toth hand chiseled this monument of Sequoyah the Native Indian who invented the Cherokee alphabet.. The magnificent sculpture can be found at the Cherokee Indian Museum.
Location: North Carolina, United States
Date Posted: 8/21/2007 6:55:38 AM
Waymark Code: WM21TM
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member THE DAM TROLLS
Views: 282

Long Description:

The names Sequoyah or Sequoia are both spellings given by missionaries, as corruptions of the Cherokee name Sogwali or Sikwâ'yi which is believed to be derived from the Cherokee word siqua meaning 'hog'. This is either a reference to a childhood deformity or a later injury that left Sequoyah disabled. Of his mother, it is known that she was a Cherokee and belonged to the Paint Clan. Mooney states that she was the niece of a Cherokee chief. His father was either white or part-white and part Native American. Sources differ as to the exact identity of Sequoyah's father, but many (including Mooney) suggest that he was possibly a fur trader or the son of Christopher Gist or Nathaniel Gist, a scout for George Washington.

The fact that Sequoyah did not speak English may be an indication that he and his mother were abandoned by his father. At some point before 1809, Sequoyah moved to the Willstown of Alabama. There he established his trade as a silversmith. He may have fought in the Creek War between 1813 and 1814 against the Red Sticks. If he in fact was disabled, it is highly unlikely that he would have fought, but his disability could have even been a result of the battle itself.

As a silversmith, Sequoyah dealt regularly with whites who had settled in the area. Often, the Native Americans were impressed by their writing, referring to their correspondence as "talking leaves." Around 1809, Sequoyah began work to create a system of writing for the Cherokee language. From 1828 to 1834 the language was used in the Cherokee Phoenix which represented the Cherokee Nation.

After attempting to create a character for each word, Sequoyah decided to divide each word into syllables and create one character for each syllable. Utilizing the Roman alphabet and quite possibly the Cyrillic alphabet, he created 86 characters to represent the various syllables. This work took Sequoyah 12 years to complete.

There was some doubt amongst his fellow Cherokee as to the worthiness of his syllabary. In order to prove his creation, Sequoyah taught his daughter Ah-yo-ka how to read and write in Cherokee. After amazing locals with his new writing, Sequoyah attempted to display his feat to tribal medicine men only to be rebuffed by them for being possessed by evil spirits. Sequoyah finally proved his feat to a gathering of Chickamaugan warriors. Quickly news of the syllabary spread and the Cherokee were filling schools in order to learn the new written language. By 1823 the syllabary was in full use by the Cherokee Nation. The writing system was made official by the Cherokee Nation in 1825.

After the acceptance of his syllabary by the nation in 1825, Sequoyah walked to the new Cherokee territory in Arkansas. There he set up a blacksmith shop and a salt works. He continued to teach the syllabary to anyone who came to him. In 1828, Sequoyah journeyed to Washington, D.C. as part of a delegation to negotiate a treaty for land in Oklahoma.

His trip brought him into contact with representatives of other Native American tribes from around the nation. With these meetings he decided to create a syllabary for universal use among all Native American tribes. With this in mind, Sequoyah began to journey to areas of present day Arizona and New Mexico seeking tribes there.

In addition, Sequoyah dreamed of seeing the splintered Cherokee Nation reunited. It was on a trip seeking Cherokees who had moved to Mexico that he died between 1843 and 1845.

The Artist.

Peter Toth is a Hungarian emigrant whose family escaped from Hungary just before the Communist takeover in 1956. He was 9 years old. In the US, he developed a strong empathy for American Indians, possibly because of his own experience with oppression. In 1968, the 21 year old Toth began a series of sculptures to honor the American Indian. The first, in California, was sculpted from stone. Over the next 21 years, he sculpted 66 more memorials, at least one in every state, all of wood. For his efforts, he has been given the Indian name "Wolf". His first sculpture in any state was without commission, but I'm told he did accept commissions for subsequent works.

Some text from Wikipedia (visit link)
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
City: Cherokee, North Carolina

Description of Location:
Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Sculpture Name: Peter Toth

Sculpture Number: 63

Year Dedicated: Dedicated Sept. 30, 1989

Type of Wood: Oak

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