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What we have here is reverse acculturation in pursuit of acculturation. The missionaries began to learn and use the Cherokee language in an effort to educate the Cherokee in Western work ethics, religion, and modes of life. The New Testament was shortly thereafter translated. Elias Boudinot would later state that "there are three things of later occurance, which must certainly place the Cherokee Nation in a fair light, and act as a powerful argument in favor of Indian improvement. First: the invention of letters. Second: the translation of the New Testament into Cherokee. And third: the organization of a Government."33

The United States Government quickly praised Sequoyah as genius and his "invention" was hailed as evidence of the progress of Cherokee "civilization." By the 1820s a great number of Cherokees could both read and write the language. They would soon implement it in ways that the United States government did and did not improve of. The question of the invention of a Cherokee alphabet being internal or not is, for our purposes, immaterial. The two main initial accomplishments of the language emerged in an acculturated form: the creation of a newspaper, and the printing of the New Testament.

In 1825, the Legislative Council passed legislation that intended "to receive donations from individuals or societies throughout the United States for the object of establishing and supporting a national academy and for procuring two sets of types to fit one press, to establish a printing office…one set to be composed of English letters, the other of Cherokee characters, the invention of George Guest, a Cherokee."34 In October the Legislative Council appointed the missionary educated Elias Boudinot as their representative. His duties entailed traveling throughout the US on lecture tours in order to collect monies for a proposed national academy and newspaper. Throughout the year of 1826 Boudinot toured, lecturing white audiences about

 


33 Boudinot, 74.
34 Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Legislative Council, The Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. 1839, in Woodward, 144.
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