In 1809 a chance conversation with some of his people led him to think deeply over the prob¬ lem how it was possible that white people could communicate thought by means of writing. He then and there resolved to devise a similar system for his own people. A hunting accident after this making him a lifelong cripple, his now enforced sedentary life gave him all the leisure to evolve his great invention.
Although Sequoyah was never a principal chief, he was active in Cherokee politics and an influential person. He was one of the Cherokee delegates who signed the 1816 Treaty of Chickasaw Council House, which ceded most of the Cherokee claims to land in present-day north Alabama. In 1818, Sequoyah joined a group of Cherokees who volunteered to immigrate west. His syllabary now allowed the eastern and western Cherokees to communicate with one another.