Question about Native American language(s) and tools

It’s always been my impression that Native Americans–both in North American and South America–never developed written languages. IF that’s true, why not? I’m aware than some did have a symbol-like language, sort of like Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Also, they seem not to have discovered the wheel and its uses, either. IF that’s true, why not?

The Mayans had a written language. Several, in fact. I think you mean an alphabetic written language, since you are excluding hieroglyphs, but the Mayan languages were actually logosyllabic, which means they were something between alphabetic and iconic. Think East Asian languages.

The wheel wouldn’t have been very useful to people in the Americas because they had no draft cattle, and there were no horses in South America. Even in the Eastern Hemisphere the wheel wasn’t “invented” until long after such things as ceramics and irrigation, so it apparently wasn’t a hugely obvious idea.

Egyptian hieroglyphics are every bit as much a written language as, say, Chinese or Latin. I don’t know why you diss hieroglyphics.

The Mayans and Aztecs both developed written languages pre-European invasion. One major problem is that the invading white men burned a lot of the extant manuscripts, so we have very limited samples to work from. It also seems that the Aztecs mostly used their writing system on stone monuments rather than developing “books”, so imagine if English only appeared on war memorials and the bases of statues. Here is an image of a Mayan codex, one of the few surviving.

Post-European invasion, the Cherokee developed a syllabary for their language and nearly the entire tribe went from “no written language” to “at least able to write their own name” rather rapidly, in less than a generation. Here is a bilingual notice in both English and Cherokee.

The central and southern American Native civilizations like the Maya and Inca did know about the wheel and used it in children’s toys. They didn’t have carts and wagons because they didn’t have the draft animals to pull them, so there was no reason to scale them up.

Plains Indians had the wheel-less travois that was pulled by dogs until horses came along. There probably was no incentive to make wheels for them when they worked well enough without them. In fact, wheels might have been a disadvantage on rough terrain.