The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 59
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The Cherokee Nation of Indians.
were, for the first time, brought in obedience to written characters.
No other tribe in North America had then an alphabet of its own.
The Crees and Micmacs, in Canada, and the Tukuth Indians, in
Alaska, had ideographic systems, invented by missionaries, and the
Mayas, in Central America, wrote in hieroglyphics, but neither of
them possessed a literary contrivance by which words and sentences
could be constructed, after the method of a true orthography. The
admirable genius of Sequoyah gave to his people this contrivance,
by which their sacred formulas were rescued from infirm or un-
faithful memories, and have become part of the written literature
of the native races. Many of the Formulas, thus escaped from the
crypt of ages, have been secured by the United States Bureau of
Ethnology, and possess for the lover of aboriginal research the pe-
culiar interest that in them is embalmed the faith and the philos-
ophy of one of the most striking .of the primitive peoples of the
continent. These Formulas are terse, turgid, and cabalistic phrases
addressed to their divinities, ,and which, though chiefly in the form
of supplication, are sometimes songs of praise and eulogy, and
sometimes charms to compel the favors of languid or reluctant
spirits. In this latter form, they are multiplied to meet every dan-
ger and every exigency of life; and in war, in pestilence, in famine,
in floods, in droughts, they are trusted with reverent, unfaltering
faith. The lover, the hunter, the warrior, each, through his sha-
man, appeals to the potential energy of the Formula for the suc-
cessful issue of his enterprise. Even after the missionaries of the
white men had introduced their religion among these simple wor-
shipers, and they had surrendered most .of their creed, they still held
tenaciously to the Formulas, as if, in some manner, interwoven with
the destiny allotted them. The shaman, after his profession of the
Christian faith, combined 'his mystic phrases with texts of Scripture
in the same religious service, and it was not uncommon to see him
publicly officiating as Indian conjurer and Methodist preacher.
iThe Formulas, in their structure land purpose, very closely re-
semble the phylacteries of the Hebrews, which consists -of extracts
from their sacred book written on strips of parchment and, accord-
ing to the Targum, worn about the person as amulets to drive away
evil spirits. That these .phylacteries should reappear in oral form
among an unlettered people, between whom and Israel there are
other points of resemblance, may, not unreasonably, be taken as
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/63/: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.