It was while working with the Eastern band of Cherokees on the PBS documentary Indian Country Diaries, Spiral of Fire in 2002 that I became interested in learning what happened to Sequoyah. I credit my interest to Lynne Harlan, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, she’s the one who began talking about the mysteries surrounding Sequoyah, things I hadn’t considered before. Now some 14 years later I’m delighted we’re making a film about the man who created the Cherokee Syllabary.
In 2015, my co-producer and Director James M. Fortier and myself began searching for Sequoyah, the inventor of the famous Cherokee Syllabary (1821). We had meetings with scholar Jace Weaver, (UGA) Brett Riggs, (WCU), Joshua Nelson (OU), and Daniel Heath Justice (UBC). What we learned is that Sequoyah was illiterate in other languages such as English, but he nevertheless invented a written language for a nation of people, the Cherokees, yet many aspects of his life and the circumstances around his death remain a mystery to Cherokee scholars. This film is about the search for Sequoyah, the man behind the myth.