Published on October 24, 2013 by Amy
Native American research & Indian genealogy is unique when compared to other types of genealogical research. Most of the records available for researching Native American ancestry or Indian ancestry and genealogy are derived from records of the U.S. Government. The early Indian rolls and Native American censuses, applications and enrollment cards, annuity and allotment records, etc., resulted from Indian claims against the United States. In order to obtain benefits awarded by the U.S. Court of Claims, Indians and Native Americans were required to prove their Native American ancestry and quantum blood requirements (i.e. percentage or degree of Indian and Native American blood required) pertaining to a particular tribe such as Cherokee, Crow, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw, etc. Once their Native American ancestry was proved, these Native American Indians were entitled to land allotments or annuities awarded by the U.S. Court of Claims.
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The enrollment records were eventually published. Two of the major publications for Native American ancestry and Indian genealogy are the Dawes Commision, i.e. the Five Civilized Tribes consisting of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chikasaw, Creek and Seminole Tribes, and the Guion Miller Commission. The Guion Miller commission is primarily for the Cherokee Tribe residing east of the Mississippi River who escaped Indian removal to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Unlike the Dawes Commission which awarded land allotments, the Guion Miller Commission awarded annuities.
Today, most of the North American Indian Tribes and Native Americans have organized Indian Agencies for the purpose of administering the claims and subsequent court rulings in favor of the American Indians. These modern Indian agencies are often connected with Indian reservations and they are much more numerous and cover many more Indian and Native American Tribes than the Dawes and Guion Miller Commissions listed above. However, the Dawes and the Guion Miller Commissions are still among the most popular records for proving Indian and Native American ancestry extending back to or beyond the turn of the century. The Dawes and the Guion Miller Commissions were organized in the late 1800′a and early 1900′s by the U.S. Government to negotiate agreements with the Indians. In the case with the Dawes Commission it was to exchange tribal lands for individual allotments in Indian Territory.
The Dawes Commission was organized in 1893 and applications for tribal enrollments were accepted between 1899 and 1907, mostly for Indians who resided in the Indian Territory which later became the State of Oklahoma. A few names were added as late as 1914 as a result of actions in Federal Courts.
The Guion Miller Commission for the Eastern Cherokee was approved on 10 Jun 1909. Rejected applicants were allowed to file objections in the form of exceptions. After these exceptions had been investigated, Miller submitted a supplemental report and a new enrollment record to the U.S. Court of Claims on 5 Jan 1910.
Today, as a result of the above commissions and the various Indian agencies established in North America, Indian and Native American descendants are entitled to both Tribal and Burea Of Indian Affairs (BIA) benefits such as educational assistance, low interest loans, and minority status. However, your Native American or American Indian lineage must be proven to obtain these benefits. Though most tribes do not require quantum blood requirements for educational assistance, many do require it for minority status.