Sequoyah was a member of the Cherokee tribe, although his mother was Native American and his father was white. As a young man, he was injured in a hunting accident and became partially lame. And although he was never taught how to read or write, Sequoyah was convinced that a form of written language would help his people, and he began trying to create a language of his own.
Years of work eventually paid off, and in 1821 Sequoyah demonstrated his new alphabet to tribal leaders. It quickly became the official written language of the Cherokees. Within a couple of years there was even a newspaper being produced in Cherokee.