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 tribes 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 Sequoyahs 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.
Sequoyahs 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.