The history of Aboriginal syllabics

Canadian Aboriginal syllabics were conceived by James Evans (a missionary to Norway House in what is now Canada) in the 1840s. Originally, Evans' system of syllabics were created for the Swampy Cree and Ojibwe languages but quickly spread to other language groups such as other Cree dialects, Naskapi, Blackfoot, Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, Slavey, Dënesųłiné (Chipewyan), Carrier, and Tsek’ehne (Sekani).

While James Evans developed the script and was undoubtedly aided by native Cree and Ojibwe speakers, most of the characters were borrowed from shorthand scripts which have roots dating back to the 1500s. Timothie (Timothy) Bright is often seen as the father of shorthand and many other scripts have been derived from it including the Willis script by John Willis. John Willis reworked Bright's script and published it in his book "The Art of Stenographie". Both Moon type by William Moon, and Canadian Aboriginal syllabics by James Evans were based off of these earlier scripts.