For anyone trying to prove Cherokee blood and establish Cherokee membership,
I highly recommend, in combination with reading the material on this website, that you also purchase Cherokee Proud: A Guide for Tracing and Honoring Your
Cherokee Ancestors, Second Edition, because it is the bible for your Cherokee membership and has assisted
many individuals in proving their Cherokee lineage and establishing Cherokee enrollment. To know that you are Cherokee is one thing, but toprove that you are in fact a Cherokee is totally different.
How many people have you met that have claimed Cherokee ancestry? Me, I have met thousands. But when I kindly ask the person
about their CDIB, most have no idea of what in the world I am referring to. I show them my card, my Cherokee citizenship,
and then I am asked many questions by people. Do you claim to be Cherokee? Then purchase Cherokee Proud and receive your rightful heritage and benefits of Cherokee citizenship.
There is absolutely no substitute for securing your Cherokee Certificate
Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB), so before you proceed, you are encouraged to take a glimpse at Cherokee Proud, read
the reviews, and then make your decision.
Cherokee Genealogy Homepage
Cherokee Land in 1771. Courtesy PBS.org
The Cherokee are a Native American people indigenous to the Southeastern
United States (principally Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee), and they speak an Iroquoian language.
In the 19th century, historians and ethnographers recorded their oral history that told of the tribe having migrated south
in ancient times from the Great Lakes region, where other Iroquoian-speaking peoples lived.
By the 19th century, white settlers in the United States referred to the
Cherokee as one of the Five Civilized Tribes because they had adopted numerous cultural and technological practices
of European American settlers. Although the Cherokee were forced to abandon their native homelands in the east and relocate
to appointed tribal lands of the Indian Territory, known as I.T., the Cherokee who were exempted, or refused
to comply, with U.S. government orders to vacate, remained in their ancestral lands and assimilated into local communities.
By mid-nineteenth century many Cherokee Indians had assimilated
among the predominately white communities of North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Cherokee lived alongside their white
neighbors and enjoyed a similar lifestyle with comparable homes, and attended the local Christian church, generally
Methodist, and even submitted to baptism. With the majority having assimilated into white society, the Cherokee,
over the next century, would diverge into two groups, known as the Eastern Cherokee and the Western
(Right) The Cherokee nation covered a broad area in the Southeastern United States. Their territory
included areas of modern day Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the Cherokee Nation consisted of nearly
300,000 members, making it the largest of the present-day 566 Federally recognized Native American tribes in the United
States. While there are only three Federally recognized Cherokee tribes, there are numerous groups claiming Cherokee
lineage, with some receiving state recognition, which account for the more than 819,000 people claiming Cherokee ancestry
according to the 2010 U.S. census.
Of the three Federally recognized Cherokee tribes, the Cherokee Nation
(aka Western Band) and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB) have their headquarters in Tahlequah,
Oklahoma. The UKB are mostly descendants of "Old Settlers," Cherokee who migrated to Arkansas and Oklahoma beginning in 1817.
Their lineage is with the Cherokee who were forcibly relocated from the east in the 1830s under the Indian Removal
Act. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is located on the Qualla Boundary in western North Carolina,
and the Eastern Band's descendants are those who resisted and avoided relocation in 1838.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians total more than 13,000 members,
the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma have a current enrollment of more than 300,000
(2014), and the United Keetoowah Band have a membership of 14,300. While the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a
census for the nation every ten years, each Cherokee tribe, however, maintains
a very accurate membership data base that allows each respective tribe
to know at any given time its exact membership enrollment total.
This page contains from history to assistance in
researching your Cherokee genealogy and ancestors, as well as free tools that will enable you to prove your Cherokee
lineage. The links at the bottom of the page also describe and list the tribal membership benefits such as free
money, healthcare, college tuition, and minority rights. In
hopes of documenting your Cherokee genealogy and ancestry, as well as establishing your Cherokee membership, enjoy
Cherokee Genealogy Homepage
Cherokee Ancestral Lands
The Cherokee live predominantly in North Carolina and Oklahoma, and
are enrolled in three Federally recognized tribes known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee
Nation, and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.
Cherokee Nation membership is not based on blood quantum. Consideration
for membership in the Cherokee Nation is based solely on having a direct Indian ancestor listed on
the Dawes Rolls.
The United Keetoowah Band maintains a one-quarter-blood requirement, known
as blood quantum, for members and requires all members to have verifiable Cherokee descent either from a person
or people on the Dawes Rolls or the UKB Base Roll of 1949.
Membership in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is only open to people
over eighteen years old. Prospective members must prove they have an ancestor on the Baker Roll of 1924 and retain at least 1/16th
Cherokee by blood.
Cherokee Genealogy Homepage
Map showing the Northern and Water routes of the Cherokee Trail of Tears in 1838
About 200 years ago the Cherokee Indians were one tribe, or "Indian Nation"
that lived in the southeast part of what is now the United States. During the 1830s and 1840s, the period covered by the Indian
Removal Act, many Cherokees were moved west to a territory that is now the State of Oklahoma. A number remained in the southeast
and gathered in North Carolina where they purchased land and continued to live. Others went into the Appalachian Mountains
to escape being moved west and many of their descendants may still live there now.
Today, individuals of Cherokee ancestry fall into the following categories:
1) Living persons who were listed on the final rolls of the Cherokee Nation
of Oklahoma (Dawes Commission Rolls) that were approved and descendants of these persons. These final rolls were closed in
2) Individuals enrolled as members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
of North Carolina and their descendants who are eligible for enrollment with the Band.
3) Persons on the list of members identified by a resolution dated April 19,
1949, and certified by the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes Agency and their descendants who are eligible for enrollment
with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indian of Oklahoma.
4) All other persons of Cherokee Indian ancestry.
Cherokee Genealogy Homepage
Collage of Cherokee men and women
After about a half century of self-government, a law enacted in 1906 directed
that final rolls be made and that each enrollee be given an allotment of land or paid cash in lieu of an allotment. The Cherokees
formally organized in 1975 with the adoption of a new Constitution that superseded the 1839 Cherokee Nation Constitution.
This new Constitution establishes a Cherokee Register for the inclusion of any Cherokee for membership purposes in the Cherokee
Nation. Members must be citizens as proven by reference to the Dawes Commission Rolls. Including in this are the Delaware
Cherokees of Article II of the Delaware Agreement dated May 8, 1867, and the Shawnee Cherokees of Article III of the Shawnee
Agreement dated June 9, 1869, and/or their descendants.
P.L. 100-472, authorizes through a planning and negotiation process Indian
Tribes to administer and manage programs, activities, function, and services previously managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Pursuant to P.L. 100-472 the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has entered into a Self-governance Compact and now provides those
services previously provided by the BIA. Enrollment and allotment records are maintained by the Cherokee Nation.
Any question with regard to the Cherokee Nation should be referred to:
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma P.O. Box 948 Tahlequah, OK 74465 (918)456-0671
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina is a Federally recognized
tribe and has its own requirements for membership. Inquiries as to these requirements, or for information shown in the records
may be addressed to the BIA's Cherokee Agency, Cherokee, North Carolina 28719, (704) 497-9131, or
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians P.O. Box 455 Cherokee, North Carolina
28719 (207) 497-2771, Fax (704)497-2952 ask for the Tribal Enrollment Office.
By the Act of August 10, 1946, 60 Stat. 976, Congress recognized the United
Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) for the purposes of organizing under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act.
In 1950, the UKB organized under a Constitution and Bylaws approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Members of the UKB consist
of all persons whose names appear on the list of members identified by a resolution dated April 19, 1949, and certified by
the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes Agency on November 26, 1949, with the governing body of the UKB having the
power to prescribe rules and regulations governing future membership. The supreme governing body (UKB Council) consist of
9 members, elected to represent the nine districts of the old Cherokee Nation and four officers, elected at large. Information
may be obtained by writing
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians P.O. Box 746 Tahlequah Oklahoma,
74465-9432 (918) 456-5491 Fax (918) 456-9601.
Information about Indian ancestry of individuals in this category of Cherokees
is more difficult to locate. This is primarily because the Federal government has never maintained a list of all the persons
of Cherokee Indian descent, indicating their tribal affiliation, degree of Indian blood or other data.
Researching Cherokee Genealogy and Ancestry
Cherokee Civil War veterans at 1903 Confederate Reunion in New Orleans.
(About) The following caption appears under the original image: Above
is shown the last photograph ever taken of the remaining members of the famous Thomas Legion, composed of Cherokee Indians
in the Confederate Army. The photograph was made in New Orleans at the time of the New Orleans Reunion of Confederate Veterans.
The inscription on the banner, displayed in the photograph, is as follows: "Cherokee Veteran Indians of Thomas Legion. 69
N. C. Regiment. Suo-Noo-Kee Camp U. C. V. 4th Brigade, N. C. Division." Reading from left to right, those in the picture are:
front row, 1 Young Deer; 2 unidentified; 3 Pheasant; 4 Chief David Reed; 5 Sevier Skitty; back row, 1 the Rev. Bird Saloneta;
2 Dickey Driver; 3 Lieut. Col. W. W. Stringfield of Waynesville; 4 Lieutenant Suatie Owl; 5 Jim Keg; 6 Wesley Crow; 7 unidentified;
8 Lieutenant Calvin Cagle. All of these men are now dead with the exception of Sevier Skitty, who lives one mile from Cherokee.
Lieut. Col. Stringfield and Lieut. Cagle were white officers of the legion. Names of the men in the photograph were furnished
by James R. Thomas of Waynesville, son of the late Col. W. H. Thomas, who commanded the Thomas Legion. This band of Indians
built the first road across the Great Smoky Mountains.
Certificate Degree of Indian Blood
A Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood or Certificate of Degree of Alaska
Native Blood (CDIB), is an official U.S. document that certifies an individual possesses a specific degree of Indian blood
of a Federally recognized Indian tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community. The Bureau of Indian Affairs issues CDIB
cards after the applicant supplies a completed genealogy with supporting legal documents such as birth certificates, showing
their descent, through one or both parents, from an enrolled Indian or an Indian listed in a base roll such as the Dawes Rolls.
The Dawes Rolls is officially known as the Final Rolls of the Citizens
and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian.
The Dawes Rolls, also known as the "Final Rolls", are the lists of individuals
who were accepted as eligible for tribal membership in the "Five Civilized Tribes": Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws,
and Seminoles. (It does not include those whose applications were stricken, rejected or judged as doubtful.) Those found eligible
for the Final Rolls were entitled to an allotment of land, usually as a homestead.
The Rolls contain more than 101,000
names from 1898-1914 (primarily from 1899-1906). They can be searched to discover the enrollee's name, sex, blood degree,
and census card number. The census card may provide additional genealogical information, and may also contain references to
earlier rolls, such as the 1880 Cherokee census. A census card was generally accompanied by an "application jacket". The jackets
then sometimes contain valuable supporting documentation, such as birth and death affidavits, marriage licenses, and correspondence.
Today these five tribes continue to use the Dawes Rolls as the basis for determining
tribal membership. They usually require applicants to provide proof of descent from a person who is listed on these rolls.
Baker Roll, 1924-1929, of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.
An act of Congress of June 4, 1924 (43 Stat. 376), established the Eastern
Cherokee Enrolling Commission to determine membership for the Eastern Band of Cherokees and to place its tribal lands into
Charged with identifying membership for the Eastern Band of Cherokees, the
Commission created, collected, and compiled data from older rolls and tribal censuses. Known as the Baker Roll, after Fred
A. Baker, these records include indexes, applications, testimony, correspondence, decisions of the Eastern Enrolling Commission,
and reports. Note, the roll can include deceased individuals.
Information in the applications includes:
Applicant's name, age, and degree of Indian blood (Includes maiden name if
Name of ancestor(s) and relationship from whom claiming descent (Includes
evidence for Cherokee lineage)
Degree of Indian blood and residence of mother and father
Names of children
Spouse name and degree of Indian blood
Individual enrollment number
Cross-referenced numbers from the Hester and Churchill Rolls
Cherokee Indian Removal and Trail of Tears Map
The Five Civilized Tribes were forced onto reservations in an effort to segregate the United States
There are two prevailing views about Cherokee origins. One is that the Cherokees
are relative latecomers to Southern Appalachia, while the other theory is that they have been there for thousands of years.
Unlike most other Indians in the American southeast at the start of the
historic era, the Cherokee spoke an Iroquoian language. Since the Great Lakes region was the core of Iroquoian language speakers,
scholars have theorized that the Cherokee migrated south from that region. However, some argue that the Iroquois migrated
north from the southeast, with the Tuscarora breaking off from that group during the migration. Linguistic analysis shows
a relatively large difference between Cherokee and the northern Iroquoian languages, suggesting a split in the distant past.
The Cherokee refer to themselves by the name Ani-Yunwiya,
meaning "Principal People," and the word Tsalagi, which is sometimes misused as a name for the Cherokee Indians, is
the Southern Iroquoian word for the Cherokee language. Unlike the other Iroquoian languages, the Southern Iroquoian
language is spoken only by the Cherokee people.
The Cherokee live predominantly in North Carolina and Oklahoma, and
are enrolled in three Federally recognized tribes known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee
Nation, and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.
In 1815, the US government established a Cherokee Reservation in Arkansas
The reservation boundaries extended from north of the Arkansas River to the southern bank of the White River. The Bowl, Sequoyah,
Spring Frog and Tatsi (Dutch) and their bands settled there. These Cherokees became known as "Old Settlers."
The Cherokee Story
The Cherokee Story
John Ross became the Principal Chief of the tribe in 1828 and remained the
chief until his death in 1866. Among the Cherokee, John Ross led the battle to halt their removal. Ross' supporters, commonly
referred to as the "National Party," were opposed by a group known as the "Ridge Party" or the "Treaty Party". The Treaty
Party signed the Treaty of New Echota, stipulating terms and conditions for the removal of the Cherokee Nation from the lands
in the East for lands in Indian Territory.
Cherokees were displaced from their ancestral lands in northern Georgia
and the Carolinas in a period of rapidly expanding white population. Some of the rapid expansion was due to a gold rush around
Dahlonega, Georgia, in the 1830s. President Andrew Jackson said removal policy was an effort to prevent the Cherokee from
facing the fate of "the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware. However there is ample evidence that the Cherokee were
adapting modern farming techniques, and a modern analysis shows that the area was in general in a state of economic surplus.
In June 1830, a delegation of Cherokees led by Chief Ross brought their
grievances about tribal sovereignty over state government to the US Supreme Court in the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia case.
In the case Worcester v. Georgia, the United States Supreme Court held that Cherokee Native Americans were entitled to Federal
protection from the actions of state governments. Worcester v. Georgia is considered one of the most important decisions in
law dealing with Native Americans.
Despite the Worcester v. Georgia ruling in their favor, the majority of
Cherokees were forcibly relocated westward to Indian Territory in 1838–1839, a migration known as the Trail of Tears,
which was a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The harsh treatment the Cherokee received at the hands of
white settlers caused some to enroll to emigrate west. As some Cherokees were slaveholders, they took enslaved African-Americans
with them west of the Mississippi. Intermarried European-Americans and missionaries also walked the Trail of Tears.
On June 22, 1839, Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot were assassinated
by a party of twenty-five extremist Ross supporters that included Daniel Colston, John Vann, Archibald Spear, James Spear,
Joseph Spear, Hunter, and others. Stand Watie fought off the attempt on his life that day and escaped to Arkansas.
Some Cherokees were able to evade removal, and they became the East Band
of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. William Holland Thomas, a white storeowner and state legislator from Jackson County,
North Carolina, helped over 600 Cherokee from Qualla Town obtain North Carolina citizenship, which exempted them from forced
removal. More than 400 other Cherokee either hid from Federal troops in the remote Snowbird Mountains, under the leadership
of Tsali, or belonged to in the former Valley Towns area around the Cheoah River who negotiated to stay in North Carolina
with the state government. An additional 400 Cherokee stayed on reserves in Southeast Tennessee, North Georgia, and Northeast
Alabama, as citizens of their respective states, mostly mixed-bloods and Cherokee women married to white men. Together, these
groups were the basis for what is now known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
During 1898–1906 the Federal government dissolved the former Cherokee
Nation, to make way for the incorporation of Indian Territory into the new state of Oklahoma. From 1906 to 1975, structure
and function of the tribal government were not clearly defined. In 1975 the tribe drafted a constitution, which they ratified
on June 26, 1976, and the tribe received Federal recognition. In 1999, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) changed or added
several provisions to its constitution, among them the designation of the tribe to be "Cherokee Nation," dropping "of Oklahoma."
According to a statement by BIA head Larry Echohawk the Cherokee Nation is not the historical Cherokee tribe but instead a
"successor in interest." The attorney of the Cherokee Nation has stated that they intend to appeal this decision.
The modern Cherokee Nation, in recent times, has experienced an almost unprecedented
expansion in economic growth, equality, and prosperity for its citizens. The Cherokee Nation, under the leadership of Principal
Chief Chad Smith, has significant business, corporate, real estate, and agricultural interests, including numerous highly
profitable casino operations. The CN controls Cherokee Nation Entertainment, Cherokee Nation Industries, and Cherokee Nation
Businesses. CNI is a very large defense contractor that creates thousands of jobs in eastern Oklahoma for Cherokee citizens.
The CN has constructed health clinics throughout Oklahoma, contributed to
community development programs, built roads and bridges, constructed learning facilities and universities for its citizens,
instilled the practice of Gadugi and self-reliance in its citizens, revitalized language immersion programs for its children
and youth, and is a powerful and positive economic and political force in Eastern Oklahoma.
The CN hosts the Cherokee National Holiday on Labor Day weekend each year,
and 80,000 to 90,000 Cherokee Citizens travel to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, for the festivities. It publishes the Cherokee Phoenix,
the tribal newspaper, published in both English and the Sequoyah syllabary. The Cherokee Nation council appropriates money
for historic foundations concerned with the preservation of Cherokee Culture.
Cherokee Trail of Tears Map
Land where the Cherokee Indians once lived
The Cherokee Nation is the largest of three Cherokee Federally recognized
tribes in the United States. It was established in the 20th century, and includes people descended from members of the old
Cherokee Nation who relocated from the Southeast due to increasing pressure to Indian Territory and Cherokee who were forced
to relocate on the Trail of Tears. The tribe also includes descendants of Cherokee Freedmen and Natchez Nation. Cherokee Nation
membership enrollment is approaching 300,000 as of 2014, with approximately 200,000 living within the state of Oklahoma.
According to Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) head Larry EchoHawk, the Cherokee Nation is not the historical Cherokee tribe
but instead a "successor in interest."
Headquartered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation has a tribal jurisdictional
area spanning 14 counties in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma. These are Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, Mayes, McIntosh,
Muskogee, Nowata, Ottawa, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner, and Washington Counties.
The tribe has a democratically elected government, led by a Principal Chief,
Deputy Chief, and Tribal Council. Bill John Baker was inaugurated as Principal Chief for a four-year term on October 19, 2011
after a special election in which Cherokee Freedmen were allowed to vote, while issues related to their membership in the
nation are being resolved.
Cherokee Nation has two tribal courts, the District Court and the Judicial
Appeals Tribunal (JAT). The Cherokee Nation Marshal Service polices the tribe. A wide range of tribal businesses are operated
by Cherokee Nation Entertainment (CNE) and Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB), based in Catoosa, Oklahoma and Cherokee Nation
Industries (CNI), based in Stilwell, Oklahoma. The tribal newspaper is the Cherokee Phoenix. The Cherokee Nation operates
Sequoyah High School and W. W. Hastings Hospital, both based in Tahlequah.
Race and blood quantum are not factors in Cherokee Nation tribal citizenship
eligibility. To be considered a citizen in the Cherokee Nation, an individual needs a direct Indian ancestor listed on the
Dawes Rolls. The tribe currently has members who also have African, Latino, Asian, white and other ancestry. Members of the
Natchez Nation joined the Cherokee Nation, as did other southeastern tribes in the 18th century. The Cherokee Nation are considered
to have the most lenient tribal membership requirements of the three Federally recognized Cherokee tribes.
To be eligible for a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB), also
known as Tribal Citizenship with the Cherokee Nation, you must be able to provide documents that connect you to an enrolled
lineal ancestor, who is listed on the “DAWES ROLL” FINAL ROLLS OFCITIZENS AND FREEDMEN OF THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES,
Cherokee Nation with a blood degree. This roll was taken between 1899-1906 of Citizens and Freedmen residing in Indian Territory
(now NE Oklahoma).
Many applicants do not qualify for CDIB/Tribal Citizenship as their ancestors
did not meet the enrollment requirements and were not enrolled. Certain requirements had to be met in order to be placed on
the Dawes Roll. One example is the enrollee had to establish their permanent residence in NE Oklahoma before 1889 to meet
the residential requirement. CDIB/Tribal Citizenship are issued through the natural parents. In adoption cases, CDIB/Tribal
Citizenship must be proven through the biological parent to the enrolled ancestor. A copy of the Final Decree of Adoption
will list the biological Indian parent(s), and a State Certified
Birth Record will list the adopting parents, and both must accompany the application. All information remains confidential.
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians
The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians formed their government under
the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 and gained Federal recognition in 1946. Enrollment into the tribe is limited to people
with a quarter or more of Cherokee blood. Many members of the UKB are descended from Old Settlers – Cherokees who moved
to Arkansas and Indian Territory before the Trail of Tears. Of the 14,300 UKB members, 13,300 live in Oklahoma. Their
elected Chief is George G. Wickliffe, serving a four-year term. Charles Locust is the Assistant Chief. Tim Goodvoice is their
executive director of tribal operations. The tribal complex is located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The UKB operate a tribal casino,
bingo hall, smokeshop, fuel outlets, truck stop, and gallery that showcases art and crafts made by tribal members. The tribe
issues their own tribal vehicle tags.
The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB)
is a Federally recognized tribe of Cherokee Indians headquartered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. According to the UKB website, its
members are mostly descendants of "Old Settlers", the Cherokee who migrated to present-day Arkansas and Oklahoma about 1817.
This was before the forced relocation of Cherokee from the Southeast in the late 1830s under the Indian Removal Act. Many
of its members are traditionalists and Baptists.
The United Keetoowah Band maintains a one-quarter-blood requirement for
members and requires all members to have verifiable Cherokee descent either from a person or people on the Dawes Roll
or the UKB Base Roll of 1949. Of the three Federally recognized tribes, the UKB maintains the most stringent membership requirements.
Beginning in the 1970s, the UKB made some people honorary associate members,
to recognize their services to the nation. Such memberships did not entitle the persons to voting or any other tribal rights,
and had nothing to do with claims of Cherokee ancestry. The tribe ended this practice in 1994. While some such recipients
were given a tribal enrollment card with a number, they were never considered official members of the tribe nor did they receive
tribal benefits. They no longer appear on official tribal rolls.
Cherokee Genealogy Homepage
Map showing location of the Western Cherokee in 1890s.
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
The Oconaluftee Cherokee of the Great Smoky Mountains were the most conservative
and isolated from European-American settlements and they rejected the reforms of the Cherokee Nation. When the Cherokee government
ceded all territory east of the Little Tennessee River to North Carolina in 1819, they withdrew from the Nation. William Holland
Thomas, a white store owner and state legislator from Jackson County, North Carolina, helped over 600 Cherokee from Qualla
Town obtain North Carolina citizenship, which exempted them from forced removal. Over 400 Cherokee either hid from Federal
troops in the remote Snowbird Mountains, under the leadership of Tsali, or belonged to the former Valley Towns area around
the Cheoah River who negotiated with the state government to stay in North Carolina. An additional 400 Cherokee stayed on
reserves in Southeast Tennessee, North Georgia, and Northeast Alabama, as citizens of their respective states. They were mostly
mixed-race and Cherokee women married to white men. Together, these groups were the ancestors of the Federally recognized
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and some of the state-recognized tribes in surrounding states.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is a Federally recognized Native
American tribe in the United States, who are descended from Cherokee who remained in the Eastern U.S. while others moved,
or were forced to relocate, to the west in the 19th century. The history of the Eastern Band closely follows that of the Qualla
Boundary. The EBCI also own, hold, or maintain additional lands in the vicinity, and as far away as 100 miles from the Qualla
Boundary. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are primarily the descendants of those persons listed on the Baker Rolls of
the Cherokee Indians.
The Eastern Cherokee Indian Reservation, officially known as the Qualla
Boundary, is located in western North Carolina, just south of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The main part of the
reservation lies in eastern Swain County and northern Jackson County, but smaller non-contiguous sections are located to the
southwest in Cherokee County (Cheoah community) and Graham County (Snowbird community). A small fragment of the main reservation
extends eastward into Haywood County. The Qualla Boundary is not a reservation, but rather a "land trust" supervised
by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The land remains a mere fragment of the extensive original homeland
of the Cherokee Nation.
The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, led by Chief
Michell Hicks, hosts over a million visitors a year to cultural attractions of the 100-square-mile sovereign nation.
According to the 2000 US census, the "Qualla Boundary," had a population of 8,092 Cherokee, primarily direct descendants
of Indians who managed to avoid “The Trail of Tears.”
As of 2014, there are over 15,000 members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee
Indians. Membership in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is only open to people over eighteen years old. Prospective members
must prove they have an ancestor on the Baker Roll of 1924 and retain at least 1/16th Cherokee by blood.
Smoky Mountains, North Carolina, and ancestral lands of the Cherokee
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) was created as part of the War Department
in 1824 and transferred to the Department of the Interior when the latter was established in 1849. The mission of BIA is to
fulfill its trust responsibilities and promote self-determination on behalf of federally recognized tribal governments, American
Indians, and Alaska Natives. BIA provides services directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts to American Indians
and Alaska Natives, members of all Federally recognized Indian tribes in the 48 contiguous United States and Alaska.
The mission of the Bureau of Indian Affairs is to enhance the quality
of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American
Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is an agency of the Federal government
of the United States within the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of
land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American Tribes and Alaska Natives.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is one of two bureaus under the jurisdiction
of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs: the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, which provides
education services to approximately 48,000 Native Americans.
The BIA’s responsibilities once included providing health care to
American Indians and Alaska Natives. In 1954 that function was legislatively transferred to the Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare, now known as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where it has remained to this day as the Indian
Sources: archives.gov; nps.gov; nara.gov; loc.gov; Bureau of Indian Affairs,
bia.gov; doi.gov; Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington; Cherokee Museum, Cherokee (Qualla Boundary) North Carolina; Cherokee
Nation, Oklahoma; cherokeenation.org, Official Website of the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; Conley, Robert J. A Cherokee Encyclopedia.
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-8263-3951-5; doi.gov; Doublass, Robert Sydney. "History of Southeast
Missouri", 1992; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee (Qualla Boundary) North Carolina; Evans, E. Raymond. "Notable
Persons in Cherokee History: Dragging Canoe"; Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 2. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian,
1977); Finger, John R. Cherokee Americans: The Eastern Band of Cherokees in the 20th century. Knoxville: University of Tennessee
Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8032-6879-3; Halliburton, R., jr. Red over Black – Black Slavery among the Cherokee Indians, Greenwood
Press, Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A, 1977, ISBN 0-8371-9034-7; Hill, Sarah H. Weaving New Worlds: Southeastern Cherokee Women
and Their Basketry. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8078-4650-3; Irwin, L, "Cherokee Healing:
Myth, Dreams, and Medicine." American Indian Quarterly. Vol. 16, 2, 1992; Leeds, Georgia Rae. "The United Keetoowah Band of
Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma." American University Studies. Series IX, Vol. 184, 199; Library of Congress; McClure, Tony Mack.
Cherokee Proud: A Guide for Tracing and Honoring Your Cherokee Ancestors, Second Edition,1998. ISBN-13: 978-0965572224; McLoughlin, William G. Cherokee Renascence in the New Republic. (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1992); Meredith, Howard L. Bartley Milam: Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Muskogee, OK: Indian University
Press, 1985. ISBN 978-0-940392-17-5; Mooney, James. "Myths of the Cherokees." Bureau of American Ethnology, Nineteenth Annual
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