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 is 10,000. Towns within the boundary
include Big Cove, Birdtown, Paintown, Snowbird, Wolftown and Yellowhill.
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:
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. Lineal
descent MUST be proven with acceptable documentation! (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
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.
* The index to the Baker Roll may be searched at:
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
In March and
April, 1996, a group of genealogists organized the Kentucky
Comprehensive Genealogy Database. The idea was to provide a single
entry point for all counties in Kentucky, where collected databases
would be stored. In addition, the databases would be indexed and
cross-linked, so that even if individuals were found in more than one
county, they could be located in the index.
At the same time, volunteers were
found who were willing to coordinate the collection of databases and
generally oversee the contents of the web page. The NC GenWeb Project
is an extension of the KY GenWeb Project. The person responsible for NC
Cherokee Reservation (Qualla Boundary) is Deanne Gibson-Roles,
email@example.com. Please contact me if you want to add your data to the database.
North Carolina GenWeb Project