“I am very humbled and honored to participate in the proposed Sequoyah film project. Sequoyah has a special place in the pantheon of Cherokee leaders, and his story has inspired generations.
My connection to the Cherokee language comes from my family. I am a full blood Cherokee, and I grew up in a family fluent and literate in our language. I have been fortunate to give back to Cherokee Nation by working on several projects for the tribe that have helped bring the Cherokee syllabary into the digital era. Some of these successes range from having Apple’s mobile operating system iOS to include the Cherokee language on all iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches in the world, to having the Google’s Android system and Search Engine compatible with the Cherokee language, and to having a Cherokee language interface in Windows 8 and Office Online. The Cherokee language is being texted, tweeted, searched, and used in many social media communications across the world. None of this would be possible with the extraordinary work of Sequoyah.
I have done much research on Cherokee letterforms, the detailed history of the development of the syllabary from Sequoyah’s original handwriting to pixels, and on the life of Sequoyah himself. I am very excited to be able to participate in this film project. I feel this is an important film.”
Daniel Heath Justice, Ph.D. (Cherokee Nation)
Professor, First Nations and Indigenous Studies/English, University of British Columbia
Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture
I am delighted and humbled to be part of the proposed film project, “Searching for Sequoyah.” This is a timely and important initiative, one that promises to reach deeply into the many different versions of and stories about Sequoyah and his impact on Cherokees of this time as well as our own. It promises to re-shape our collective understanding of one of the central figures in Cherokee history and culture, and to hopefully offer revolutionary new information from the investigation of his journey to Mexico. By bringing together a whole network of respected Cherokee community knowledge holders, storytellers, and language speakers alongside Sequoyah descendants, Cherokee scholars, and non-Cherokee historians and researchers, this project promises to be an wide-reaching and deeply rooted contribution to our understanding of Sequoyah’s life and legacy and a needed corrective to the limited archive and representations that have come before. Thank you for inviting me to participate; it’s a real honour to be included among so many people I respect and have learned from over the years. I hope that my work as an Indigenous literature scholar and my familiarity with Sequoyah’s contested representations in Cherokee literature will be useful to this film and its larger vision.
Julie Reed, Ph.D. (Cherokee Nation)
Associate Professor in History
Penn State, College of the Liberal Arts
Julie L. Reed is a historian of Native American History, with an emphasis on Southeastern Indians and Cherokee History, and American Education.
Reed’s current project, tentatively titled “ “The Means of Education Shall Forever Be Encouraged in this Nation”: A Cherokee and American Educational History,” reconsiders Cherokee educational history. Instead of assuming Cherokee educational efforts begin with Christian missionaries, U.S. officials, and Sequoyah’s invention of the syllabary in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Reed roots education in older forms of knowledge transmission and a general belief among Cherokee people that every member of Cherokee society regardless of age or gender could learn from or teach every other member of society. Given the far more expansive and less rigid access to knowledge, Reed will consider how this older system moved forward as both Cherokees and non-Cherokees offered new ideas about the purposes, accessibility, and goals of education.
Her first book Serving the Nation: Cherokee Sovereignty and Social Welfare, 1800-1907 (University of Oklahoma, 2016) examined the shift by Cherokee people from a holistic system of care for others rooted within a matrilineal clan system and governed by local community obligations that stretched across towns to the rise of nationally administered social services by the Cherokee Nation to individual citizens. This shift ultimately resulted in the creation of an orphanage, a prison, and a facility for the (dis)abled and mentally ill in the period after the Civil War. Reed considers major turning points and the internal debates that led to changes in Cherokee social policy, how these changes in social policy both mirrored and deviated from changes happening in the larger United States, and the ways institutions served to protect Cherokee sovereignty when allotment and Oklahoma statehood threatened.
Brett Riggs, Ph.D.
Western Carolina Univerisity
Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies
Dr. Riggs is a research archaeologist with the Research Laboratories of Archaeology (RLA) at UNC-Chapel Hill. He specializes in Cherokee studies and, for more than twenty years, has worked in southwestern North Carolina to shed light on the lives of Cherokee families during the removal era of the 1830s. In his position with the RLA he is helping to establish the National Historic Trail of Tears Long-Distance Trail in the extreme southwestern corner of North Carolina.
Brett Riggs, Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University, has received the 2016 Cherokee National Worcester Award for his efforts to preserve Cherokee culture.
It is the highest honor the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma presents to non-Cherokees for their dedication to tribal history, heritage and sovereignty. The award was recently presented by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker during the 64th annual Cherokee National Holiday Awards dinner in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Founder & Director of The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Vonore, TN
Dr. Alberto Galindo
Alberto was born Jose Alberto Galindo in Chicago ILL, April 4 1960, and his first school was “Saint Mary of the Angels” in Chicago. He holds a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and divides his time between his home in El Rio, Texas and and his ranch in Zaragoza, Couhuila, MX. Alberto is a chronicler and historian of Zaragoza, in the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila since 1993. Founder and member of several organizations including: Asociación de Cronistas e Historiadores de Coahuila, Colegio de Investigaciones Historical del Norte de Coahuila, and Consejo de Rescate del Patrimonio Cultural de Zaragoza.
Alberto is the author of several historyy books such as Zaragoza un Pueblo con Historia and historical novels Un Cielo de Metrallas and el Llanto de la Raiz.
Presentations, conferences, and honors in the United States, Mexico, Cuba, and Italy.