An indigenous epistemology provides the necessary posture toward an object to reveal its meaningful properties: its structure, place, and particular elements. Technologies were used in ways that honored the relationship of living things to each other, so a writing system, as a tool, would have had to represent a holistic understanding of the world, our relationships to it, and our relationships to each other. As [Vine] Deloria and [Daniel] Wildcat indicate [in Power and Place: Indian Education in America], “Tribal people in using their instruments did not simply extend the scope of their own capabilities, but enhanced their abilities through the addition of powers inherent in the relationships they had with other living things.” Inventing these glyphs in the ways he did, Sequoyah brought forth and enhanced the particular force of the spoken word. His art and craftsmanship reveal not only his understanding of the ways in which representational systems work but how he related the whole of his system to this ancient language and the Cherokee perspective. The relational experience implicit in the Cherokee writing system demands more than just linking glyph to sound; it demands and understanding of Cherokee perspectives, values, and ways of structuring and experiencing the world.
—Ellen Cushman, The Cherokee Syllabary: Writing the People’s Perseverence