How to Prove That You’re Cherokee

  • Search federal records if you cannot qualify for actual tribal membership but you still would like to prove ancestry. If an American Indian was living away from the reservation or native lands when the rolls were assembled or if they refused to accept the land that the Dawes Rolls entitled Cherokee members to, they would not be recorded. Read through records that agents of the Bureau of Indian Affairs compiled for information on your ancestors. Reservation and boarding schools contain some genealogy records that you can examine. The Indian Census Records of 1885 to 1940 may also help track your lineage.
  • Contact the tribe your ancestors were affiliated with and send them copies of the documents showing your ancestors were Cherokee. The tribe will send your information to the Bureau of Indian Affairs which will issue you a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood that certifies your Cherokee tribe affiliation and blood quantum. This certification, otherwise known as a white card, proves Cherokee ancestry.

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