Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Nation

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Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Nation

The objective of the lesson is to study the history of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (aka North Carolina Cherokee; Eastern Cherokee Nation; Eastern Band; and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Nation); and Cherokee Nation (aka Western Cherokee; Western Band; and Oklahoma Cherokee), with emphasis on Cherokee membership enrollment requirements and qualifications for both tribes.
Cherokee Indian Reservation, Tribe, or Nation?
While referring to the Cherokee Indians the words tribe and reservation are often applied, but the more acceptable designation is "Nation" because it denotes equality with its larger neighbor the United States. Although words and their meanings often evolve over decades, the majority of Eastern and Western Cherokee members -- but not without debate and controversy -- identify themselves as American Indian (AI) instead of Native American.

The objective is to assist and provide the reader with Oklahoma Cherokee Membership and Enrollment Requirements; Cherokee Nation Membership Qualifications; Eastern Cherokee Tribal Enrollment process; Oklahoma Cherokee Indian Benefits; Oklahoma Cherokee and North Carolina Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Blood Quantum (blood percentage) required  for Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB); basic differences in Membership Requirements for Eastern and Western Cherokee Nations; specific membership entitlements and benefits for both Eastern and Western Cherokee Indian reservations, such as cash allotments from the Eastern Cherokee Indians; Native American (American Indian or "AI") Minority Rights; question and answer session for proving Cherokee blood, researching genealogy and ancestry for tribal enrollment (Dawes and Baker rolls for example), and completing the membership application; what is needed to prove Cherokee lineage according to current tribal requirements; how much Cherokee money will I receive as well as any housing, educational and hospital benefits; question and answer session related to Cherokee customs, cultures, traditions, Qualla Boundary, North Carolina Cherokee and Indian Removal Acts, Treaty of New Echota, Cherokee Removal, Trail of Tears, and the forced removal and results on the majority of Cherokee from North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama to Oklahoma Indian Territory, the home of present-day Cherokee Nation.
Are you ready to get the facts to prove your Cherokee Blood Degree and then complete the application for tribal membership? Take notes, better yet bookmark, because now we will endeavor to  prove that you meet the Cherokee Indian Nation Enrollment Qualifications and Requirements for Membership as well as establishing North Carolina Cherokee Membership. See also Cherokee Membership and Cherokee Enrollment Requirements and Qualifications (Official).


Today’s Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are direct descendants of the Cherokee Indians who avoided the Indian Removal Act and the "Trail of Tears."

In 1838, the Federal Government forced most Cherokees west into what is now Oklahoma. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians trace their descendancy from about 1,000 Cherokees who managed to elude this forced removal. About 300 of these claimed US citizenship; the rest were living in Tennessee and North Carolina towns or hiding in the mountains.

Through the 1840s, federal agents searched the mountains in attempts to remove the refugees to Oklahoma. In 1848, the US Congress agreed to recognize the NC Cherokees' rights if the state recognized them as permanent residents. In 1866, the state of North Carolina formally recognized the band, and in 1889 finally granted it a state charter. In 1925, tribal lands were finally placed into federal trust to ensure that they will forever remain in Cherokee possession.

These lands include 52 tracts which total 56,688 acres scattered across five North Carolina counties (Cherokee, Graham, Jackson, Macon & Swain). Most of this land is known as the Qualla Boundary. All lands are held in common by the Tribe, with possessory holdings issued to individuals. Reservation population is 6,311, and tribal enrollment includes more than 12,000 members. Towns within the boundary include Big Cove, Birdtown, Paintown, Snowbird, Wolftown and Yellowhill. See also Cherokee Indian Tribal Enrollment and Membership Requirements: The Qualifications for the Cherokee Tribe.

map of Qualla Boundary (NC Cherokee Reservation) (5.31k)

Claiming Your Cherokee Heritage


Claiming your Cherokee heritage is not unlike claiming your Scots-Irish, Dutch, English, German, Italian, Flemish, etc. heritage. You do the research, find the documents, and prove your ancestry. Then you are entitled to say, "my grandparent was a Cherokee," thus claiming your heritage.

Applying for tribal membership is altogether different. Remember, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee is a nation, the same way that the U.S.A., France, Italy and Germany are nations. An application for tribal enrollment is really an application for citizenship in another nation. Consequently, the requirements are specific and quite strict.

Tribal Enrollment Information--Eastern Band
To be eligible for enrollment with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian, an applicant must:

  • be a direct lineal descendant of someone on the 1924 Baker roll

  • possess at least 1/16th degree Eastern Cherokee blood

Enrollment in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is governed by tribal ordinance #284 dated June 24, 1996, and restricts enrollment to the following:

Direct lineal ancestor must appear on the 1924 Baker Roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. (Note: The Baker Roll is the base roll of the Eastern Cherokee and contains the name, birth date, Eastern Cherokee Blood quantum and roll number of the base enrollees.)

Must possess at least 1/16th degree of Eastern Cherokee blood

All criteria must be met in order to be eligible with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Enrollment is CLOSED to all people who cannot meet the above requirements.

For further information, contact the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian Enrollment Office at (828) 497-7000, fax: (828) 497-2952, or write Eastern Band of the Cherokee, P.O. Box 455, Cherokee, NC 28719.

Tribal Enrollment Information--Western Band
To be enrolled by the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, an applicant must first prove ancestry to a person enrolled by Dawes. (Dawes Roll 1898-1914.) Additional requirements may be obtained by writing to: Cherokee Nation, Tribal Registrar, P.O. Box 948, Tahlequah, OK 74465.

See also How Much Money do Cherokee Indians Receive and How to Receive Cherokee Money: The Membership Qualifications and Requirements.

Copyright 2004-2007 by Dee Gibson-Roles. All Rights Reserved.
(See also related reading below.)

Are you Cherokee? 


Are you the individual that has always been told that you are a Cherokee, but have no facts or records to prove it? To claim Cherokee membership means that you must prove it – you must have the facts, so toss the doubt away, get the facts, and claim what is rightfully your heritage by blood quantum. Now, are you ready to prove that you are a Cherokee? It’s not difficult if you take the time to locate the facts. Below are proven resources for tracing your family genealogy, the family tree, roots, bloodline, and for researching your ancestors to prove that you meet the blood requirements (qualifications) for Cherokee membership and tribal enrollment. Those that qualify as “American Indians are American Indians” and are entitled to the rights and benefits of the tribe! Below is a proven “how to dos” written by the foremost expert in Cherokee history, genealogy and heritage. Cherokee membership is not like joining a gym or paying dues, it’s your blood, so claim it. Are you remotely interested in knowing that you are a “Cherokee Indian” or are you the individual that enjoys genealogy? Do you want to locate and preserve your Native American ancestry? Finding information about ancestors for genealogy and heritage is also a lot of fun. Moreover, you are preserving your own family history and heritage with your relatives and loved ones for generations and generations… Take a look below at exactly what is required to locate and organize and present your information to prove that you meet the qualifications as a member of the Cherokee tribe. Cherokee Proud, by Tony McClure, is referred to as the "Bible for Cherokee Genealogy." Cherokee Proud has also been rated a SOLID FIVE STARS by every person that has read and rated it. To see if you meet the 'Cherokee qualification and requirement for membership', then look no further -- purchase Cherokee Proud. Read the reviews below and see what people and organizations are saying about it.


Recommended Reading: Cherokee Proud, Second Edition, by Tony Mack McClure. Description: Absolutely the "Bible" of Cherokee Genealogy. New, 336 pages, 2nd Edition. If the information in this remarkable new book doesn't lead a person to proof of their Cherokee roots, nothing can! “It is an A-to-Z on organizing and locating the requirements / qualifications for membership.” Continued below...


"Cherokee Proud is the very best book I have ever seen on tracing Cherokee genealogy." -- RICHARD PANGBURN, acclaimed author of Indian Blood, Vol. I & II found in most libraries

"McClure unabashedly loosens his journalistic standards for portions of this book which reach him too emotionally. Understood. Fascinating and enlightening."

BACK COVER: Among the people of this country are individuals in whose blood runs the proud heritage of a noble and resilient people whose ways and talents rank with the finest civilizations the world has known. They are the " Tsalagi ". . . the Cherokee. This book will help you learn if you are one of them. -- BOOK READER

"The contents of Cherokee Proud are exceptional - valuable information that can be used by so many readers and researchers who have Native American (Cherokee) ancestry." -- DON SHADBURN, Famous Georgia historian and noted author of Unhallowed Intrusion and Cherokee Planters of Georgia

"This Cherokee guide is the best yet!" -- LAWTON CONSTITUTION

About the Author: Well known and acclaimed Cherokee author Dr. Tony Mack McClure, a native of Tennessee, is a certified member of the Native American Journalists Association, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, and Committeeman for the Tennessee Chapter of the National Trail of Tears Association. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, over 250 newspapers, on all major television networks and many cable systems.

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 Recommended Assistance in Researching Your Genealogy and Heritage:

Recommended Reading: Footsteps of the Cherokees: A Guide to the Eastern Homelands of the Cherokee Nation. Description: Footsteps of the Cherokees divides the Cherokees' eastern homeland into 19 geographical sections and explores many of the historic Cherokee sites in these areas. Sites range from Moccasin Bend in Chattanooga, inhabited by Cherokees and earlier Indian cultures and considered one of the most important archaeological complexes within a United States city, to the Qualla Boundary, the home of the Eastern Cherokee reservation, where visitors can still experience the historic Cherokee culture. For each site, Rozema gives historical background, directions to the site, and the hours of operation and telephone numbers if the site is located within a park or museum area. The book also includes an overview of Cherokee history that sets the stage for the tours of the historic sites. Continued below...

About the Author: Vicki Rozema is the editor of Cherokee Voices: Early Accounts of Cherokee Life in the East and Voices from the Trail of Tears (see page 15). She is currently working on a Ph.D. in early American history with a specialization in Cherokee history at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, but she still maintains a home near Chattanooga.

Recommended Reading: The Cherokee Nation: A History. Description: Conley's book, "The Cherokee Nation: A History" is an eminently readable, concise but thoughtful account of the Cherokee people from prehistoric times to the present day. The book is formatted in such a way as to make it an ideal text for high school and college classes. At the end of each chapter is a source list and suggestions for further reading. Also at the end of each chapter is an unusual but helpful feature- a glossary of key terms. The book contains interesting maps, photographs and drawings, along with a list of chiefs for the various factions of the Cherokee tribe and nation. Continued below...

In addition to being easily understood, a principal strength of the book is that the author questions some traditional beliefs and sources about the Cherokee past without appearing to be a revisionist or an individual with an agenda in his writing. One such example is when Conley tells the story of Alexander Cuming, an Englishman who took seven Cherokee men with him to England in 1730. One of the Cherokee, Oukanekah, is recorded as having said to the King of England: "We look upon the Great King George as the Sun, and as our Father, and upon ourselves as his children. For though we are red, and you are white our hands and hearts are joined together..." Conley wonders if Oukanekah actually said those words and points out that the only version we have of this story is the English version. There is nothing to indicate if Oukanekah spoke in English or Cherokee, or if his words were recorded at the time they were spoken or were written down later. Conley also points out that in Cherokee culture, the Sun was considered female, so it is curious that King George would be looked upon as the Sun. The "redness" of Native American skin was a European perception. The Cherokee would have described themselves as brown. But Conley does not overly dwell on these things. He continues to tell the story using the sources available. The skill of Conley in communicating his ideas never diminishes. This book is highly recommended as a good place to start the study of Cherokee history. It serves as excellent reference material and belongs in the library of anyone serious about the study of Native Americans.

Researching Cherokee Indian Family Lineage Genealogy, Ancestry, History, Heritage, Folklore Myths, Culture, Customs, Chief William H. Thomas: Cherokee Indian Agent to Washington, President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief Yonaguska, Cherokee Chief Junaluska, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation John Ross, Cherokee Indian Nation Oklahoma, Cherokee Chief Stand Watie Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Cherokee Chief Nimrod Jarrett Smith Obituary, Sequoyah: Legendary Creator of the Cherokee Syllabary (Alphabet), Tsali: Cherokee Hero and Legend The Trail of Tears History, Squirrel: First American Indian to Completely Manufacture a Firearm, History of the Cherokee Indians, Cherokee War Rituals, Culture, Festivals, Government, and Beliefs, Cherokee Chief Nimrod Jarrett Smith Obituary, History of Cherokee County, North Carolina, Cherokee Indians and the American Civil War

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