If you are conducting family research with a goal of gaining triblal membership
in one of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes|
(Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma or United Keetoowah Band headquarted in Tahlequah Oklahoma or the Eastern Band of Cherokees in Cherokee, Qualla Boundary, North Carolina),
it is important to know the following:
To register as a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma one must prove direct decendancy from a person of Cherokee Blood enrolled by DAWES during the period of 1898 to 1914 (An in-depth explanation of this role appeared earlier). Direct descendancy refers to mother, father, or grand-parents of any generations. Unfortunately, aunts, uncles, brothers etc. DO NOT qualify.
Simultaneous applications for "Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood" and "Cherokee Nation Membership" are required. There is no minimum blood quantum required. Birth certificates, death certificates, and Court Records are some of the means of proving direct descendancy from a person listed on the DAWES Roll. Note that tribal agencies DO NOT accept Federal Census Records as proof of Indian blood.
It is your burden to prove to the Cherokee Nation that you are entitled to be registered in their
community as a member and according to their rules. Regardless of the fact that the DAWES roll
was a U.S. Government orchestrated requirement, if your ancestor
is not listed on it, you simply won't be allowed to enroll, even if
you have positive proof that you are 100 percent Cherokee!
Enrollment requirements for the United Keetoowah Tribe and
Eastern Band of North Carolina are even more stringent. Until just
recently an applicant for enrollment in the eastern band was
required to prove direct decendancy from a person who was listed
on the Baker Roll of 1924 and have a minimum 1/16 blood quantum.
Enrollment in the United Keetoowah Tribe of Oklahoma under
UKB Membership Ordinance 90 UKB 9-16, 16 September 1990,
provides that any descendant of 1/4 Cherokee Indian blood of any
enrollee on the 1949 UKB Base Roll, or on any other historical
Cherokee Roll, shall be eligible for enrollment in the UKB. Final
determination of Cherokee Indian blood quantum rests with the
UKB Tribal Council. For applications, call or write:
Over the years, the "Rolls Rules," have led to the formation of a
few non-federal tribes in various parts of the country. Some of these
are officially recognized by the legislated Indian Affairs
Commissions of their individual state governments. You might
want to consider pursuing membership there if you do not have the
required Dawes or Baker rolls connection for the federal tribes. Just
keep in mind that they will be asking what you can do for them,
instead of what they can do for you. Benefits are almost non-existent,
save some educational scholarship considerations and limited
housing assistance for the needy , and they are available only to
legal residents of the state where the tribe is located. I also strongly
recommend that you check out the credentials, goals, policies
and tribal enrollment requirements of any non-federal tribe you
consider applying to.
There are many groups without any form of recognition that claim Cherokee descent, some of which even call themselves "tribes" and award titles such as "chiefs, clan mothers, etc." Some of these are made up of very sincere people desiring a local place to exercise traditions of heritage, even if they are unable to document it. Nevertheless, others are headed by shysters interested more in the pocketbooks of their "tribesmen" and general public than anything else; thus, I cannot urge you enough to carefully investigate any such group that you consider becoming affiliated with.
In the first edition of this book, I listed every group I could find
whose primary focus seemed to be respect for and interest in
Cherokee culture. That was a mistake, because I later learned that
one of them was advertising memberships in their "tribe" to include
a "card certifying you as Indian with no paperwork required" for
just $25; another was designating people as "chiefs" (and awarding
them plains Indian names) without any requirement for proof of
In response to inquiries to all fifty state governments, the following
six tribes were reported to have official recognition.
DID YOU KNOW?
"Cherokee Pride" 1st Ed. 1999
by Tony Mack McClure, Phd.
Pages 201, 2004
These records are part of the "History American Indian Profile©"
by Volume - I. Sarratt/Sarrett/Surratt Family Profile©|
Compiled and self Published in Jun. 29, 1993 by Paul R. Sarrett, Jr. with the assistance of my late mother
Mrs. M. Lucille (WILSON) SARRETT (1917-1987) The SFA "Work-Books" were compiled by "General, Languages, Tribes, Treaties, Wars, How to Research NA Ancestors, Bibliographies". In 1996 I started "Up-Loading" this material on the Sarratt/Sarrett/Surratt Families of America (SFA)© site. ..prs