The first issue of the newspaper was printed on February 21, 1828 in New Echota, Cherokee Nation. It published all articles in both English and Cherokee (using the 86 character Cherokee syllabary developed by Sequoyah). This made it both the 1st newspaper published by a Native American tribe and the 1st newspaper to print articles in a Native American language. A much more complete history of the paper can be found here.
Beyond this, the newspaper represents the first major institution of print capitalism by any Native peoples. Print Capitalism is the idea that a nation emerges with a common language, discourse, and identity through the use of a printing press—that nationalism is proliferated by the imagined community (see Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities…).
Selected transcriptions of the first 3 volumes (1828-1831) of the paper have been transcribed by Western Carolina University. They are available for free. It looks like all 5 volumes of the early Cherokee Phoenix (1828-1834) are being transcribed.