P.O. Box 948
Tahlequah, OK 74465-0948
This letter is in reference to your inquiry concerning Cherokee Registration. To be eligible for Tribal Membership with the Cherokee Nation, you must apply and be able to present a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB), issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
To obtain a CDIB, you must formally apply for one and provide acceptable legal documents which connect you to an ancestor, who is listed with a roll number and a blood degree from the FINAL ROLLS OF CITIZENS AND FREEDMEN OF THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES, Cherokee Nation, (commonly called the Dawes Commission of Final Rolls). These rolls were compiled between the years of 1899-1906. Quantum of Indian Blood is computed from the nearest paternal and/or maternal direct ancestor(s) of Indian blood listed on the Final Rolls.
Many descendents of Cherokee Indians can neither be certified nor qualify for tribal membership in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma because their ancestors were not enrolled during the final enrollment. Unfortunately, these ancestor did not meet the requirements for the final enrollment. The requirements at that time were (1) applying between 1899-1906, (2) appearing on previous tribal rolls of 1880 or 1896, and (3) having a permanent residence within the Cherokee Nation (now the 14 northeastern counties of Oklahoma). If the ancestors had separated from the Tribe and settled in states such as Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas, they lost their citizenship within the Cherokee Nation. Only enrolled members of the Cherokee Nation named on the Final Rolls and/or their descendents are furnished Certificates of Degree of Indian Blood and/or Tribal Membership.
CDIB's are issued only through the natural parents. In cases of adoption, quantum of Indian blood must be proven through the BIOLOGICAL PARENTS to the enrolled ancestor. A copy of the Final Degree of Adoption must accompany the application for CDIB, as well as the STATE CERTIFIED, FULL IMAGE/PHOTOCOPY OF THE BIRTH RECORD. All information will remain CONFIDENTIAL.
To assist you in researching and for formally applying, an information packet has been designed to give you general facts, specific instructions describing required information and documentation, formal applications, research referral information, and other information. When you submit your application, PROCESSION TIME IS FOUR TO EIGHT WEEKS! Upon issuance of a CDIB, the tribal membership application will be placed on file for processing. Incidentally, should your descendance from an enrollee NOT BE ESTABLISHED, the processing of the application may take longer. You will receive a letter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs explaining "why" your descendance could not be certified.
Should you have any questions concerning the CDIB/Tribal Membership process, please contact the Registration Office. Thank you.
Lela J. Ummerteskee,