About 22,000 people speak the Cherokee language today. The language is part of the Iroquoian language family, and the Cherokee represent the only group of Southern Iroquoian speakers. Through the efforts of a Cherokee named Sequoyah, tribal members began to read and write in their own language. Relocation of a large part of the Cherokees to Oklahoma and educational prohibitions against speaking their native language caused the language to almost die out. In recent years the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina have taken steps to reclaim their language.