Shortly before being forced out of their homeland in the 1830s, Cherokee people of the southeastern United States left written accounts on cave walls of secretive rituals. Now researchers have translated some of those messages from long ago.
Cherokee inscriptions in Alabama’s Manitou Cave, now a popular tourist destination, describe religious ceremonies and beliefs using written symbols for 85 syllables — enough sounds to replicate the Cherokee spoken language. Cherokee scholar Sequoyah devised this writing system not long before his tribe’s banishment down the Trail of Tears, a series of forced relocations of Native Americans to…
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