“Searching for Sequoyah” Documentary to Be Screened at SSC

Seminole State College will host a documentary screening of “Searching for Sequoyah” on November 2 at 9:30 a.m. in the Jeff Johnston Auditorium. Following the screening, a panel discussion featuring the filmmakers will take place at 11 a.m. The event is sponsored by the SSC Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institutions (NASNTI) federal grant program. The screening and panel discussion are free and open to the public.

The 56-minute documentary chronicles the accomplishments and mysterious death of the famed 19th-century Cherokee visionary, Sequoyah. Details about Sequoyah’s life are revealed through oral stories from five of his modern day descendants. While the history surrounding Sequoyah’s creation of the Cherokee syllabary, or writing system, is well known, the film seeks to uncover more about the man’s personal life. The film seeks to answer the question of how did an illiterate man go on to invent a writing system that transformed the future of the Cherokee people? “Searching for Sequoyah” also explores the man’s final quest to reunite the Cherokee people in Mexico, the mystery surrounding his death and the legacy he left behind. The film was originally released in November 2021 across PBS stations nationally.

The panel includes Roy Boney, Dr. Todd Fuller, LeAnne Howe, Joshua Nelson, and will be moderated by Professor Jim Wilson. Booney is an award-winning artist and the manager of the Cherokee Language Program. He was selected as a Sequoyah Fellow by Northeastern State University in 2022. Dr. Fuller teaches creative writing and Native American literature courses at the University of Oklahoma. He is also the curator of OU’s Western History Collections. Howe served as a producer and writer for the film. She currently serves as the Eidson Distinguished Professor in the English department at the University of Georgia-Athens. Nelson was the narrator and co-producer of the film. He is an associate professor of English at the OU. Wilson, the moderator for the panel, lectures in the English Department at the University of Georgia. He teaches First Year Writing and Honors Multicultural Literature. Wilson is a former SSC professor.

SSC’s NASNTI grant program is 100% federally funded in the amount of $450,000 annually. In addition to hosting cultural experiences on campus, the grant also provides support for students with disabilities by training faculty and staff in best practices, implementing assistive devices and technology and redesigning foundational courses to ensure they best support online students with disabilities.

For more information or questions, contact SSC NASNTI Director Kay Wallace at 405-382-9646 or k.wallace@sscok.edu.