Tribal Registration

Cherokee Nation Attn: Tribal Registration P.O. Box 948 Tahlequah, OK 74465

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions frequently posed to the Cherokee Nation Registration Office:

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation?

Cherokee Nation is comprised of the descendants of Cherokees and Cherokee Freedmen who removed here to Indian Territory (present-day northeastern Oklahoma) in the 1800s, either as “Early Settlers” prior to 1830 or through forced federal relocation commonly known as the “Trail of Tears.” Cherokees who established themselves in this new land were listed on several tribal censuses. A final federal census called the Dawes Rolls was taken of tribal citizens living here from 1898-1906. To be eligible for Cherokee Nation citizenship, a person must have one or more direct ancestors listed on Dawes.

What are the Dawes Rolls?

The Dawes Act of February 8, 1887 was a turning point in determining tribal citizenship. The Act developed a Federal commission tasked with creating Final Rolls for the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). The Commission prepared new citizenship rolls for each tribe, incorporating names of approved applicants while simultaneously documenting those who were considered doubtful and ultimately rejected. Upon approval of the Rolls, the Dawes Commission allotted a share of communal land to the approved individual citizens of these Tribes in preparation for Oklahoma statehood (1907). The Dawes Commission required that the individual or family reside in Indian Territory to be considered for approval.

While the official process started with the 1896 Applications, these were eventually declared null and void. Two years later, the Curtis Act amended the process and required applicants to re-apply even if they had filed under the original 1896 process. With new guidelines in place, the Commission continued to accept applications from 1898 through 1907, with a handful accepted in 1914. The list of approved applications created the "Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory." –source www.archives.gov

What is an “original enrollee”?

Original enrollees are people listed on the Dawes Rolls of the Cherokee Nation. Their direct descendants make up the citizenry of the Cherokee Nation. You must trace directly back to at least one original enrollee on Dawes to be eligible for tribal citizenship.

How can I find out how much Indian/Cherokee I am?

Each person listed on the Dawes Rolls of Cherokees by Blood was assigned a blood quantum fraction to express their amount of Cherokee ancestry. Blood quantums begin at 4/4 and divide in half with each successive generation. Your blood quantum will be computed and placed on your CDIB. If you do not have a CDIB, you will not have a blood quantum.

Are there other Cherokee tribes?

There are three federally recognized Cherokee tribes: Cherokee Nation and United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians, both located in Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, located in North Carolina. Each has its own citizenship laws and requirements.

Can I obtain citizenship through DNA tests, family photos, or genealogy websites?

DNA results, family photos, and resources found through genealogy websites are not valid proof of ancestry and cannot be used to verify citizenship.

Can I send photocopies of documentation (e.g. birth and/or death certificates) with my application by mail?

No. You must send the ORIGINAL documentation (originals will be mailed back to you). You may bring in originals and a copy will be made for files (we do not keep the originals).