Posted By Jamie K Oxendine November 18th, 2011 Featured

To any Native American that travels a great deal and attends and participants in a large number of cultural events, it would appear that everybody has an “Indian Princess” in the family. Usually, this person is a “Cherokee Indian Princess” … or at least it would seem so with the many stories one gets from the average and general public. Even more disturbing is this story is also widely told and used by Native Americans that claim they have a “Cherokee Indian Princess” as an ancestor. But not to be outdone and to show that other Native American Nations are not discriminated against, the story does not always have to be Cherokee…in many instances and especially since 2000 all Native American Nations/Tribes are included in stories that somebody has an “Indian Princess” of some Native American Nation/Tribe in their family.

But that aside, this really is a genealogy paper and thus with that beginning paragraph, it is one of Cherokee Genealogy.  This article is to help both anyone that feels they may be of Cherokee origins as well as help the Cherokee by hoping that many will read this and understand the viewpoints of Cherokee Genealogy per enrolled citizenship/membership. This, of course, does not mean that one cannot be Cherokee or of Cherokee heritage. While doing research for this paper and other projects in correspondence with the Cherokee Tribes, they all admit that there are many people of Cherokee Ancestry and Cherokee Blood that are not enrolled for many various reasons.

If one is looking at the official acknowledgment of being Cherokee here is the information they may need as put forward by the Cherokee Tribes:


As of 2011, there are 3 Federally recognized Cherokee Groups:

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in Tahlequah, OK.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, NC.

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Tahlequah, OK.


Tribal membership is a status of citizenship in a sovereign nation, AND –

In the United States only the Federal Government has the authority to recognize a sovereign foreign nation with foreign indicating a government other than the United States of America, AND –

For Federal, State and Common Law in all cases of American Indian citizenship, Tribal Law always governs the terms of citizenship/membership, AND –

The degree of “American Indian Blood” is irrelevant to Tribal citizenship/membership if a law has been established creating the different basis for enrollment as a citizen/member as not all Nations use a degree of “American Indian Blood” for citizenship/membership.


Requirements for citizenship/membership among the Cherokee greatly varies in both procedures and details. There are actual rules here and they can vary but basically, it involves being able to legally establish a Direct Lineal Descent from one that was enrolled in the official final rolls of citizens/members and a calculation of Certification of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB).

Direct Lineal Descent

This must be established by some type of legal documentation. This may include items such as state or court-ordered birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and or other legal documentation that justifies a direct lineal descent. One may also use a “judicial determination of heirs” which legally establishes the nearest enrolled relative.

Certification of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB)

This document is the process of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs. The minimum CDIB is established by each Federally Recognized Tribal Government and varies greatly even among Tribes that are of the same origins.

There may be many other requirements established by each individual tribal government.


The current requirements for Cherokee citizenship/membership are as follows:

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma

1. Direct Lineal Descent from a Dawes Roll citizen/member

2. Any degree of Cherokee Blood Quantum

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Cherokee Tribal Ordinance #284 of June 24, 1996, states –

1. Direct Lineal Descent from a citizen/member of the Revised Baker Roll and 1924 Baker Roll

2. 1/16 degree of Cherokee Blood Quantum

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians

1. 1/4 degree of what is known as the “Old Settler” Keetoowah Cherokee Blood.


The above seems simple enough but one must realize that there were rules and or regulations long before these especially since Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma uses a final Dawes Roll of 1906, The Eastern Band of Cherokee uses a 1924 Baker Roll and the Keetoowah Band uses a Base Roll of 1949.

Anyone of Cherokee descent has heard the phrases Dawes, Baker and even Old Settler when referring to being Cherokee. They are rolls and or census based on Acts established to count and keep track of the Cherokee starting in the early 19th Century.


This is the final roll of the Eastern Cherokee as prepared by U.S. Agent Fred A. Baker by an act of The 68th U.S. Congress on June 4, 1924. Before this roll, the Act had required that all land, money, and property of the Eastern Cherokee be transferred to the United States for final disposition. The goal, of course, was total termination of the Eastern Cherokee as a government, people, and political entity. This total termination failed however but the Eastern Cherokee continued to use the 1924 Baker Roll as its base roll and Baker Revised Roll as its final roll. Descendants of those persons of the original Baker Roll are enrolled on the Baker Revised Roll and they must also meet the other citizenship/membership requirements of the Eastern Cherokee.


The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma are enrolled as follows:

Citizens/Members by blood

Citizens/Members by marriage

Citizens/Members enrolled by an Act of Congress in 1914

Delaware Indians adopted by the Cherokee


Minor citizens/members by blood

Minor freedmen

New born citizens/members by blood

New born freedmen

The original enrollment closed September 1, 1902 with additional children added until March 4, 1906.


The requirements for enrollment in the Cherokee after the Dawes Act include:

One must appear on previous tribal rolls of 1880 or 1896.

One must have applied between 1899-1906.

 One must have a permanent residence within the Cherokee Nation in the 14 Northeast counties of Oklahoma.

 Any ancestors that separated from the Cherokee Nation and settled in the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas now lost their citizenship within the Cherokee Nation.

Only enrolled members of the Cherokee Nation named on the Final Rolls and their descendants are issued Certificates of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) and Tribal Citizenship/Membership.

Certificates of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) are only issued via the natural parents. In any cases of adoption, the quantum of American Indian Blood must be proven through the natural biological parents back to the originally enrolled ancestor. For all adoption claims a copy of the Final Degree of Adoption along with a State Certified Birth Certificate/Record must accompany the application for Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB).

All other Cherokee citizenship/membership rules were basically extinguished by the actions taken around and after the final rolls.


The “Old Settlers” was those Cherokee that was removed freely (not a forced march) to what was known as Indian Territory under the treaties of 1817 and 1819. One must remember that Indian Territory then was what is now Arkansas. Settlements for these Cherokee were between the Arkansas River and White River.

What became known as the “Old Settlers” were identified by two census rolls: The Emigration Roll of 1817 and the Old Settler Roll of 1851. The 1817 Emigration Roll became a list of all Cherokee that freely chose to move to Indian Arkansas Territory. The 1851 Old Settler Roll included all from the 1817 Emigration Roll that was still alive in 1851 and living in what was now Indian Territory of Oklahoma. The main body of the Cherokee Nation had now been in this new Indian Territory of Oklahoma since 1839 by forced removal. Remember Arkansas became a state in 1836 but Oklahoma stayed Indian Territory almost until it was admitted to the Union in 1907.

Only the Cherokee on the 1851 census that was also enrolled under the Dawes Commission retained citizenship/membership. So any Cherokee on both the 1817 Emigration Roll and The 1851 Old Settler roll became officially known as “Old Settlers” because they had resided in the older Indian Territory of Arkansas between 1817 and 1840 at them moved to the “new” Oklahoma Indian Territory after Arkansas became a state and within a few years of the main body of the Cherokee being established in Oklahoma after forced removal from the South East.

As one can see, dates and territorial/state lines became a very important aspect of who was and who was not Cherokee.


The Cherokee Tribes admit that there are many people that are “of Cherokee Ancestry and Blood” that can trace and document their ancestry and maybe even blood quantum to earlier generations who were at one time Cherokee citizens/members. Due to a great deal of internal strife and civil war among the Cherokee in the mid-19th Century, these ancestors lost their citizenship/membership as a result of many various choices and decisions made by both them, the Tribal Governments, State Governments and most importantly and most sadly the Federal Government. For the most part, this “loss” came about due to something as simple as where one chose to live. In many other cases, it came about due to agreements and disagreements on treaties or other documents.

Because of both Federal and Tribal Law, large numbers of people who were of Cherokee heritage lost their citizenship/membership at the time of the respective final rolls. There are many reasons for this and it has been a much heated debated for over 200 years. Opinions vary greatly in this argument as there has never been any type of official census on those that lost their Cherokee citizenship/membership due to the guidelines and requirements of said citizenship/membership.

Of course, ask anyone that truly feels and believes they are Native American and or Cherokee and they will resoundingly tell you that all of the above is not the Native way of saying one is or one is not Native American and thus Cherokee. This makes logical sense since even the Cherokee admit that the system of citizenship/membership did not even exist until the governments (both Tribal and Federal had to establish such guidelines). But as anyone knows and as Nakeysha A. Kemp (Enrollment Clerk of The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) states if we do not have such measures then anyone and everyone could claim Cherokee enrollment and the Tribe would have millions of members.

Finally, who is and who is not Cherokee sometimes comes down to whether one signed or did not sign certain Tribal, State and Federal papers and where one lived during certain dates. There is no legal documentation process for non-Cherokee to be citizens/members. Not one of the 3 Federally Recognized Cherokee Groups offers any kind of recognition process for descendants of any individuals that surrendered their citizenship/membership. This includes any that may have “disappeared” from any Tribal, State, and Federal records, rolls, census or other official papers.


Various correspondences via phone, e-mail, and U.S. Mail from March 2011 to November 2011 and updated information from November 2014 to February 2015 with:

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in Tahlequah, OK.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, NC.

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Tahlequah, OK.

Interviews with:

Nakeysha A. Kemp, Enrollment Clerk, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee, NC

Chenaust Whiteman, Special Assistant, Cherokee Nation Tribal Registration, Tahlequah, OK

Indian Census Collection


About Jamie K Oxendine

Jamie K. Oxendine, of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, is the Native American Liaison and Education Consultant for Ohio University in Athens. Ohio. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toledo teaching “Indians of North America” and at Lourdes University teaching “Native American Culture” for the Lifelong Learning Center. A frequent speaker on Native American topics, he serves as the director of the Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation in Ohio. As a recording artist, he was three times been nominated for a NAMMY (Native American Music Award).

TAGGED:    genealogy  


  1. frank elliott says:

    My cousin, Lige Troxell is the Great-Great-Great Grandson of Jacob ( Big Jake ) Troxell and Cornblossom, daughter of Double Head, the last Chief of the Cumberland Plateau Cherokee. Does this qualify him to be Cherokee. If so, to which Band would he be considered for?

    • Raschel Garland says:

      Hello Frank Elliot! My name is Shelly, and I am from McCreary County, Ky; the home of the Ywahoo Falls, “Big Jake”, and the legend of “Princess Cornblossom”. I can not say my knowledge on whether that particular descent would or would not qualify. However, I can point you to some documents and information that might help in the matter!
      This first link is to a page written by Dr. Ken Tankersley of the Cincinnati University. He has done extensive anthropological and genealogical research into this particular legend. This page details much of his own findings and may lead to some inspiration of where to find more information.

      This second page is a genealogical record page of cornblossom’s supposed family.

      As there is a question of her existence, there is a question of the ENTIRE genealogy. There was no word or concept of ‘princess’ in my knowledge of the Cherokee Nation at that time, it is assumed this word has been ‘tacked on’ to such names by colonial forces to describe the daughter of a chief.
      As well, there were three or four men of the name “Chief Doubblehead” (the supposed father of Beloved Woman/War Woman Cornblossom). They all lived at similar but offset time frames, and none are known to have had a daughter by the name of cornblossom; although it is possible that it was a name taken later in life and not well recorded, it is still suspect. I would also find it of merit to mention that there are at least (according to my own research) three men of the name Jake/Jacob Troxell. All of which lived at similar times, but none of which were enrolled military members and alive during the time frame of the legendary massacre. To be honest, a LOT of work would have to be done to gain any documentation, and even from there, the legal process is daunting.
      I hope some of this information is helpful to you, and I wish you luck on your journey!

      • Nolan-Amory Kingston says:

        All the Tankersleys I have encountered claiming to be descended from an American Indian (specifically Cherokee) princess are among those whose ancestor was a freed slave masked as a Cherokee Indian Princess so that she would not be taken back to Virginia.

  2. frank elliott says:

    My cousin, Lige Troxell is the Graat-Great-Great Grandson of Jacob Troxell ( Big Jake ) and Corn Blossom, the daughter of Double Head, the last chief of the Cumberland Plateau Cherokee. Would he be considered to be Cherokee and if so to which Band would he be considered .

    • troy f hicks says:

      i have found im related to caroline matilda weatherford the niece of red eagle of the wind clan. she was 1/2 creek weatherford and 1/2 cherokee dyer. she was on the guion miller rolls of 1909 number 18401 listed as killiam,mrs. craw m al………shes listed as eastern cherokee indian.
      which tribe do i apply to ?
      thank you, troy f hicks
      [email protected]

  3. Blue_Bear says:

    OK, so say you are not on a roll or enrolled. I met a creek guy last week who was unmistakably ndn. There was no doubt. He announced he was an unenrolled Muskogee Creek from OK. In this country he is not legally allowed to call himself that without possibility of being fined or arrested according to the Arts and Crafts act of 1990. BUT you don’t even have to be NDN to sell NDN art as long as a federal or state tribe tells you it’s ok. So you can be any race and sell art as Native American as long as a tribe says you can. How is this even right? Why complain about what the government did in the past if you are so eager to follow their ways now? And if you are NDN but not enrolled what the heck race are you supposed to call yourself? Ppl need to stop with the politics already and get back to the way life is supposed to be.

    • Gray Fox says:

      Very well stated! I have reasoned out the same conclusion myself. Politics and greed will stand in our way every time.

  4. man! i see this all the time! im onondaga seneca from up in ny and gd from window roc az baby! o yea, navajo too, im in sc right now if i had a dollar for everytime someone said that to me i would be rich! just the other day i had this woman come to me and tell me she was the great great great grat great great great grand daughter of pocahontis! i mean come on now people! its like me going to tell every person in the world my great great great great granddaddy was george washington or custer! now who will beleave me ? lmao! one time this couple came ok. and said they were a part of the “secret sociaty band of cherokees” i man come on people!
    i think the cherokee did alot of tee pee creapin then ain it! ayyyyy!

      • John Toineeta aka John Grant Jr. says:

        lol Back when I hit the powwow trail hard I used a teepee lol so yes some Cherokees have used teepees lol Why worrie about such things when the more pressing issue is what is happening to the world today I mean this winter isnt even a winter at all. What is going on? I am glad I can pray. Maybe everyone else should do the same no matter what your background is.

  5. Jingler2011 says:

    White people always say that there grandma was a Cherokee Princess when there is no such thing. I’m Cherokee and I hate it when people say that. It makes them look bad! I hate that.

    • Memphian says:

      crazy uh? alot of the traditional dancers wear crowns with their regalia too.

    • snywalker says:

      My question is: If EVERYONE is descended from a princess, were there no men?

      Just joking.

    • Cassi says:

      I always feel my NDN grandmother was better than a princess. When she met my grandpa she was working at a movie theatre.

      That means she got cheap movie tickets and free popcorn.

  6. Jean Wilson says:

    Need researched facts about Native American Indian Princess Weeko. I have a lovely old print of her signed by F. Harper. What tribe was she from, when did she live, and how old is this print?

    • Arbitration says:

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  7. White Hawk says:

    I am Cherokee mixed with a few different other blood. I may carry less then 1/4 but in my heart I know who I am. Plus also know there is no such thing as a Cherokee Princess. When you refer to haveing a Cherokee Princess as an ancestor it just simply means that she was the daughter of a Chief. The term Princess was given by the Euerpeons and their view of Rolaty.

  8. American Historian says:

    December the 11 th 1734

    Three of the Great Men of the Cherrikee Indians attended by di-
    verse others of that Nation this day desired to be admitted to offer cer-
    tain Proposals to the Governor and Council & being accordingly admitted
    they said that all the Lands in this part of America once belong’d to
    them but now it is King George’s, & his Subjects may now use it as
    freely as any of their Nation us’d to do that they look upon themselves
    also to be King George’s Subjects & to be as Brethren to the Saponies
    Tuskaroroes Nottoways & other Indians living amongst the English that
    he the person who spoke for them was told so by the King when he
    went to England with S r Alexander Cumming That they come hither
    now to see the Governor of Virginia as their Friends & to propose a
    nearer Correspondence with the People of this Colony & are therefore
    desirous to Settle on a Branch of Roanoke River that from thence
    they may enjoy the Conveniency of a free Trade with this Colony They
    were answered that [they] may Trade here with all freedom so long as
    they continue in Peace & Friendship with his Majesties Subjects but as

    344 Executive Journals, Councils of Colonial Virginia

    to their removing to Roanoke it did not seem so convenient for the Hunt-
    ing because they might frequently be disturbd by the Northern Indians
    who Hunt Yearly thereabouts whereupon they Signified that they were
    very desirous to make peace with the Northern Indians if they cou’d
    find means to propose it, The Governor then told them he wou’d write
    to the Governor of New York to treat of a peace with the Cherrikee
    Nation & wou’d endeavour to procure a safe Conduct for their Agents
    to Repair to the Northern Indians to that Purpose And then having
    acquainted them that he had prepared presents for them as a Testimony
    of the Friendship of this Colony toward their Nation they withdrew


    That the Interpreter who attend cd the Cherrikee Indians be paid
    five Pistoles for his trouble & Service therein

  9. stephanie says:

    My grandpa has always refered to himself as being of Black Dutch..For along time we always thought it ment they was poor..when i was working on my family tree I looked up black dutch and c ment came across that it actually was anouther term for cherokee..so i tried looking up my grandpas surname and found nothing on the rolls that i can find..however his surname was spelled in different ways .one family member would spell one way and the other would spell it anouther way..so my point is im not sure if it is even true or if grandpa would say black dutch just to be saying it..one thing for sure is i prob will never know.

  10. stephanie says:

    Also..when I started to work on my dad mothers side of the family..her mother my gr grandma was listed in the census as either being the niece in the houshold or grandaughter in anouther household back in the ealry 1900s which gets a little confusing when it comes to her family tree one household was said to be muttalto race and anouther white..howver i spoke to a guy i met at a powwow and he said the surname was lumbee..so i looked up the surname on lumbee and there are many brooks but have no way of knowing for sure..my mom always said she was native american but since the elders no longer around.. i have no way of knowing for sure.

  11. John Toineeta aka John Grant Jr. says:

    Why is someone that is not Cherokee posting stuff about Cherokee enrollment? just a question.

    • Memphian says:

      It’s useful information. People need to understand what they need to do in order to become a member of one of those true, documented Cherokee Tribes, instead of creating a fraudlent Cherokee tribe, which there are many in Arkansas, Tennessee, and other parts of the South. If you have documentation, the link, to someone on one of those rolls, become a member the right way.

    • Rebecca Hunt Locklear says:

      Hey John John (yes I know you – met you several years ago at a powwow) Jamie is the Editor and thus he was asked to write about the issue and obvioulsy he got a great deal of information from the 3 Cherokee Nations including yours in NC. You should be glad this is out there to hopefully make some think twice about saying they have a Cherokee Indian Prinicess and saying stupid stuff about being Cherokee when they are not. I whole heartly agree with Memphian as this is great information and maybe the Cherokee offices will get less idiot calls if they read these.

  12. Fire Woman says:

    Those of us who carry the blood of our Native American ancestors in our veins realize that it flows through the soul.

    Even if there are no longer records to connect us, our souls do.

    • act 3535 says:

      Fire Woman I am with you. I have always known my gr grandmother was full blooded Cherokee as well as other grand parents. Unfortunately, my documents show Cherokee on the applications that were submitted but denied. I have heard how unfair the signing up of the Dawes Rolls or other Rolls were so it does not surprise me that for generations my ancestors were denied acceptance to the rolls. But my heart and soul are totally Cherokee and I could care less if I meet someone’s criteria to be recognized in one of the Federal Tribes. I don’t need government money or anything else they give out because I know what is in my heart and I am learning the Cherokee ways from other elders who have been raised the Cherokee way and that is enough for me.

    • Carolyn Opalenik says:

      Thank you! I was taken from my family when I was very young my grandmother was cherokee I have no papers to prove it but I know in my heart and soul who I am.

  13. Unregistered Cherokee says:

    What about THIS? Is any of this true about the officers at Cherokee Nation of OK? If it is, then you can add this to your list of wrongs committed against Cherokees.

    Kerry Holton

    Kerry was raised in Georgia and is of minor Indian ancestry on his mother’s side. Kerry claims to be 1/8th Delaware and the great-great-great-great grandson of their historic leader Chief Black Beaver. As recently as 2007, he was equating his collection of Dream Catchers with signifying his Delaware ancestry. He is married to a non-Indian and did not live in Oklahoma until winning the President’s position of the Delaware Nation by a vote of 38-37. He has submitted a resolution to the National Congress of American Indians calling for the removal of state recognized tribes from the organization and calling such tribal communities wannabes. Kerry does not speak Delaware and was not raised within a cultural Delaware context. He is a supporter of the Cherokee Nation Task Force which was created to attack the identities of “non-federal” tribes.

    Cara Cowan-Watts

    Cara was a primary instigator in the attempted removal of the Black Cherokee population more commonly known as Cherokee Freedmen. She is of 1/256 Cherokee blood as per her CDIB card. She has claimed in the past that her father is of both Cherokee and Choctaw ancestry and that her mother’s side of the family is of much more Cherokee ancestry than she has been able to substantiate. She has since repealed this on her own website which she formerly made the claims on. Cara has also attempted to remove children from the Cherokee Nation Immersion School who are not members of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma even though these children have been there since the early days of the schools opening. She is a highly intelligent and highly paid politician who understands the game well and presents herself as a “holding babies, working for the people” type. She has been very successful in projecting this image of herself. She is an enrolled Cherokee based on descent from one historic figure who she says was a prominent Cherokee politician many, many, generations ago. Cara is a founding member of the Cherokee Task Force which was created to attack the identities of “non-federal” tribal communities. She was not raised within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma jurisdiction (she was raised in Seminole, Oklahoma) and was not raised within a cultural Cherokee context. She does not speak Cherokee.

    Gayle Ross

    Like the majority of Indian identity police, Gayle Ross claims descent from an historic famous Indian. Her descendant is of course the legendary 1/8 Cherokee John Ross. Gayle was not raised within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, but rather in Texas. She makes a living as a “traditional Cherokee storyteller”. She said that she was “inspired to” telling stories by her grandmother. She was careful to not mention that she learned traditional stories from her grandmother. She has been an outspoken critic of the Cherokee Freedmen’s inclusion within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She does not speak Cherokee and was not raised within a Cherokee cultural context. Her blood quantum is unknown.

    Julia Coates

    Julia Coates is from the Southwestern United States and of minor Cherokee ancestry. She has a true joy of calling others wannabes, though she does not speak Cherokee and was not raised within a Cherokee historical context. She is a highly paid politician within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She will not disclose her blood quantum, so that pretty much speaks for itself. She is a supporter of the Cherokee Nation Task Force which is tasked with attacking the identities of “non-federal” tribes.

    Troy Wayne Poteete
    Troy sits as judge on the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Supreme Court after a very contentious and close vote of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma council. Troy came into his Cherokee identity later in life and has risen through the bureaucracy to become a highly paid tribal employee. He is a civil war re-enactor and designs “traditional Cherokee turbans”. Troy has lobbied nationally against “non-federal” tribes and even claims a friendship with Office of Federal Acknowledgment Director Lee Fleming. In 1994 Lee Fleming said in documents that Troy needed mental help. It was alleged at that time that Troy had misused or embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars during his tenure as the head of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Historical Foundation. Troy is 1/32 Cherokee by blood and is founding member of the Cherokee Task Force which is tasked with attacking “non-federal” tribes.

    Terri Rhoades (formerly Ellenwood)

    Terri is a founding member of the Cherokee Task Force and formerly a member of the state-recognized Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama, who she now advocates against. She was raised in Pennsylvania and is a lawyer and Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma employee. She also derives income from her work as a “Cherokee” artist. She was previously a member of the Tennessee Indian Commission and lived in that state. In 2001, she filed legal paperwork to have her racial identity changed from white to Indian in Pennsylvania. On her own website she does not show a picture of herself, but routinely shows her daughters, who are brown and identifiable due to a former marriage with a fullblood Nez Perce, as somehow representative of their families Cherokee identity. Terri is of minor Indian descent (she will not show a copy of her CDIB) and her move from Pennsylvania, to a state Cherokee tribe, to Tennessee, to membership within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is one for the record books.

    David Cornsilk

    David is the classic example. His father is of predominantly Cherokee ancestry and his mother is white. He dealt with identity insecurity (still does) during his youth as he is a white phenotype individual. He struck up an oppositional stance to more recent Cherokee leadership and in doing so decided to take the side of the Cherokee Freedmen in the recent disenrollment battles. He did so simply to get back at the CNO leadership though he admits that he grew up with racist beliefs towards Black people. David has bashed state tribes and made racially antagonistic remarks towards tribes such as the MOWA Choctaw and United Houma Nation. A New York Times article published about him a little over a decade ago reveals much of his insecurities. He was one of the individuals who drafted the Indian Arts & Crafts Act which became law in 1990 and also recognizes state recognized Indians as Indian artisans. Go figure? He now works hard against Indian artists who are not from federally recognized tribes.

    There are other names on this rap sheet, but is this really true??

    • Rob Tree says:

      Every time Ive heard that, Ive thought to myself, did that just come out of someone’s mouth! In my old retirement age, Ive heard this 3 or 4 times.
      What really makes me shake my head is that ‘everyone’s grandmother or grandfather is a full blooded Native American!
      Granted, there may be Indian ancestry way back there but I just dont buy it!
      I was once acquainted and spoke with Hastings Shade of Tallaquah (every few years and who was later elected deputy chief of the Western Band of Cherokee) and we would find these stories amusing at best. There was no Cherokee Princess that I ever heard of and Hastings Shade is a historian and Author and I never heard him mention its existence either.

  14. Rebecca says:

    I know I am just a beginner in this, but was informed from my father before moving from OK to MN of my great grandmothers. 1 great is full blooded Cherokee and the other is full blooded Choctaw. Both are deceased and the only number I have is a house number that was given to the Cherokee side. Is anyone willing to help me with a start on who to contact? I believe in the “Old ways” of helping others, and will help others who are willing to help themselves, I am willing to help myself, just need a point in the right direction is all

  15. Laura Green-Salter says:

    Any info on a Ladson Indian Reservation who would have my family Low(e)ry. My Mother’s side. Lowery, Pettit, Ward. names my mother mentioned before her passing. Dewey Lowery was my grandfather & Samuel Lowry & Elizabeth was his Parents.

  16. John Ervin says:

    On February 15, 1922, Henderson wrote to Bertha M. Eckert of the Dallas, Texas Y. W. C. A. about the Lumbee:

    In the strictest sense of the word I would not class the Croatan [Lumbee] as Indians. They do not have a reservation. Unlike real Indians they acquire all the land possible and sell very little. They work well and have fairly good homes; as good as I might say as the whites of like station in life. They are neither whites nor Indians. The whites will not associate with them as equals. The state of North Carolina provides schools for them separate from the whites. At the last session of the N. C. Legislature $15,000 was appropriated for their normal and industrial school at Pembroke. It is thought that the Lost Colony [of Sir Walter Raleigh] of Roanoke went to these Indians as they have a great many characteristics that are purely English. Living at or on the rivers near the coast escaped pirates, many of whom were Portuguese, joined the colony and no doubt many runnaway [sic] negroes. You will see, therefore, that they are evidently an amalgamation of a number of races. These people will have nothing to do with the Southern negroes. They call themselves Cherokee but in reality have no Cherokee blood and not really any kinda indian blood at all.

    • Rebecca Hunt Locklear says:

      Mr. John Ervin,
      Yes that was said by back in 1922 – since then those statements have been found to be quite biased and quite racist and proven wrong. As you well know many Tribes have no reservation but are Indians, many Tribes since this statement in 1922 have acquired reservations and some have lost reservations. And many Tribes have changed their name or acquired a new name or found a lost name since 1922. The Lumbee are Indians and the only reason they do not have BIA status is pure GREED (Money) because other Tribes are so afraid that their Government money will be cut to get the millions that the Lumbee would get. BUT that is not true! Any new Tribe that gets BIA status does not cause any cuts to other BIA or event State Tribes.

  17. Samuel M. Hay III says:

    First and foremost, are we not considering DNA testing as being factual? THIS seems to best and most accurate determining factor, even possibly more accurate than any records kept by the (great and infallible ) government.
    In my case, I was very early retired and had always been interested in working with Native Peoples in the quest for right and equality. I have about six years of volunteer Native advocacy work under my belt.
    I have Cherokee ancestry on both paternal and maternal sides of my family. I also have almost all the physical characteristics including the extra wrinkle on my forearms. Its a Cherokee thing. Of extreme interest is the possibility this mark may just prove to be the ONLY totally distinctive physical trait of any race, ethnic group in the world! (Agreed, it begs for further research but it is something I have observed for more that 50 years. (Dont laugh, I have practical experience in learning these features and every bit of it seems to be a reality) My maternal grandmother spoke fluent Cherokee language. She was from the Toccoa region of North Georgia. My paternal gr gr grandmother was given to a family named Dobbs in North Georgia at the time of the removal due to her age and poor health as a baby.
    We all know the rolls are incomplete. My maternal grandmother stated those who hid in the mountains so they wouldnt be removed are not on any rolls.
    I dont want BIA assistance. I dont want casino money. I do want the truth and no written records will be able to prove that.
    So, back to my prelude. How could you argue with the DNA testing?
    Samuel M. Hay, III AKA Bearded Wolf Teneska
    Covington, GA

  18. Samuel M. Hay, III says:

    I believe in my case, a grandmother who taught me so much about Native ways, and spoke fluent Cherokee, I would have no reason to doubt her authenticity.
    I have many funny stories over the years dealing with people of many races.
    Sharing only one with you at this time, hope it will give you a chuckle as it does me.
    (ME) “By appearance you obviously have Native American ancestry”….
    (RESONSE) “I dont but my grandmother did!”

  19. Cherokee Nation of Mexico says:

    The Cherokee Nation of Mexico accepts enrollment from ALL Cherokee descendants regardless or color or religious preference.

    The Cherokee Nation of Mexico is officially recognized by the Republic of Mexico, one of three countries – Canada, the United States and Mexico, which make up all of North America. The Cherokee Nation of Mexico and the Spanish Dominion was first recognized in the 1700s and was spiritually mandated in 1842 by one of the most influential of Native Americans, the great Cherokee intellect, educator and freedom activist – Sequoyah.

    Osiyo, welcome to every person of a good heart.

    It is with pleasure we welcome you and your families and friends to our tribe. We want to thank you for your interest in the Cherokee Nation of Sequoyah. We are a growing celebration of Cherokee heritage and look forward with great happiness to you becoming a member of our tribe and joining in the fun.

    Over the past 10 years, we have been a source for those who feel the need of wanting to enjoy the Cherokee culture and to take pride in its history, and the many wonderful stories about the Cherokee ancestors have come from people and families just like yours.

    All of every person’s stories are priceless among all Cherokees, as we respect all of those persons who came before us; their stories activate a commonality in the sense of belonging to a tribe and a bond of friendship through the experience of family historys. For this is the spirit which binds us all together.

    Our membership procedure is strictly a process that allows us to document and organize the large numbers of interested applicants. The first step is this simple membership application. This will allow us to contact you and learn more about you and your family.

    This easy to fill out application will allow us to create a Cherokee name based upon talking to you and reading your family stories, or if you already have a Cherokee name that you have outgrown, we can get to know you and, through the winds that carry all things good, we will work with you to rename you. Most people prefer our White Chief to name them, as that seems to be a correct name fit every time.

    All new members will also be a part of one of the seven clans of the Cherokee Nation of Sequoyah so that when you come to our festivities and gatherings, you will have a chance to meet with other clan members, the same as it was done thousands of years ago.

    Every year there will be gatherings and ceremonies performed by the tribe, and all family members of any age are welcome, for that is what the Cherokees are about, “togetherness of the people”. In ancient times, should the parents die, it was impossible to be an orphan, for the Cherokees had no word for orphan; all the adults are the mothers and fathers of the children– in fact, grandmothers and grandfathers were interchangeable as needed by the circumstances of life’s changes.

    Got to http://CherokeeDiscovery.com and click on the “Registration” link

    Please return this application via email or postal mail and the White Chief, Waterhawk Garrett himself, will read it and respond to your application, and be in communication with you, to lead you on the white path back to the tribe of your ancestors.

    “Look forward to uplifting times.”

    Regan Waterhawk Garrett
    The White Chief of
    Cherokee Nation of Sequoyah

    copyright © 2012 Cherokee Nation of Sequoyah

  20. Gladys (Sunshine) Randolph says:

    My Grandmother was Cherokee. She taught me many things growing up. She is not listed on any roll. I would be very happy and content to be listed on a roll, but the happiest for me is KNOWING My heart is Cherokee. My Grandmother lives on in my life. I am proud to posess the Cherokee blood of my Grandmother. My Grandmother always called me by the name, “Sunshine.” I always feel “at home,” when I go to Cherokee N.C. It is though I can be happy knowing this is where my Grandmother came from. She passed away when I was 15 years old. I am now age 72 today and I still feel close to my brothers and sisters in Cherokee N.C. Thank you for the article. it is wonderful, simply wonderful! Almost as wonderful as MY PEOPLE The Cherokee. God bless you..1 Cor. 13 P.S. I would be delighted to hear from you White Chief.

  21. Tictoli Gvnagei says:

    Thank you Mr Oxendine for this article, it is very informative, as are the comments.
    I am a former member of the state recognized Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, but left once I found out the truth of former Principal Chief Charlotte Hallmark, and her lies. I left the tribe, and enrolled with the state recognized Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama A.K.A Cherokee’s of Jackson County.
    I claim my blood from my paternal grandmother, who is around 1/2 American Indian, Cherokee and Eastern Siouan.
    My maternal grandfather is Native as well, but not proven.
    My ancestors have lived in Jackson County, Alabama since the early 1800’s, they stated in there Guion-Miller Roll of 1909 applications that when the other Cherokee’s were going to North Carolina, they asked my 5x great grandparents and all there children to come along with them to what is now the Qualla, but my family refused. Because like me, there were proud, and would not suffer to be pushed from there home by greedy evil men.
    Many of my family members were discharged from the Confederate Army, for being American Indian, and yes, this is well documented.
    As well, I have distant cousins enrolled in the federally recognized, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
    Tsitsalagi, I am Cherokee.
    I do not care for what Pollys Granddaughter, David Cornsilk, and others like them have to say about me, or my people. because they have lost the true meaning of being Anigaduwagi. We are not stealing there identity, we are reclaiming our own. We are reclaiming our place at the sacred fire. I hope for peace among our peoples, but I will not hold my breath to it. And as long as they try to discourage us, I and many others like me, will continue to build our people up. That’s all I have to say.

  22. Will Anderson says:

    The Cherokee Nation briefly had a Emperor who was a suzerain vassal sovereign under King George of England… that is the genesis of the Cherokee princess expression. Pocahontas mother was a Cherokee named Amopotuskee, and she was a Powhatan “princess.” Indian nations inside the United States are not sovereign… if they were they would have artillery! They are de jure (in law) Domestic Dependent Nations that are, in de facto (in practice), operating like municipalities or counties. If the Cherokee Nation was truly sovereign, they would have been allowed to sell their lands in Oklahoma and migrate back to Mexico which is what the council wanted to do. There such three attempts to migrate back to Mexico that were blocked by US authorities before 1900. Much of the Cherokee Nation migrated back to Mexico in 1721 after the Treaty of Holston. That body of our people, who had the “M” and “R” sounds in their dialect, wrote a letter to Tahlequah, stating that they were at Lake Chapala and were moving south. Sequoyah made three attempts to locate that group, did locate a remnant, and died during a third attempt after being kidnapped by Texian agents and making his escape. Standing Rock made affidavit of the facts to Chief John Ross concerning Sequoyah’s demise and his tomb went hidden until a few years ago. Mexico recognized The Cherokee Nation in Mexico 2001 for the 4th time since the 1700s.

  23. Brittany LeMay says:

    I think it’s very important that there is a balance between what is too much and what is not enough, as far as the guidelines put into place in legally identifying Native Americans. I wonder if Native Americans today feel that they are being forced to jump through too many hoops in order to be recognized and receive the benefits they deserve.

  24. Raschel Garland says:

    Fantastic! I love the responses almost as much as the writing itself! It is interesting what a reaction people have to simple truths, and basic facts.
    I also liked that it gave me an opportunity to shine and share my own knowledge with someone!

  25. Mark Chase says:

    The history behind these rolls that determine who is and who isn’t a Cherokee shows just how fragmented the Indian Nations could be at times. They also reveal the sheer impact of the federal government’s encroachment on historically native lands and how redistributing the native populations divided the people against themselves. It truly is a shame that ancestors who had Cherokee blood in them were cast out simply due to where they chose to settle when these rolls were in effect.

  26. Noah York says:

    My Cherokee ancestors left the reservation and fled to the mountains because they didn’t want to be known as Cherokee. It saddens me that they lived at a time when it was considered bad to be a Native American… I remember my great grandmother saying that her father had left the reservation, and she didn’t feel it right to claim Cherokee citizenship. (after she was grown, and her father had passed, she learned that her father had left his Cherokee wife and children on the reservation… another reason not to claim citizenship.)

  27. Nate Zona says:

    I have heard so many obviously European people say “my great/grandmother was a Cherokee Indian Princess.” It’s so sad to see the pervasiveness of this myth without any fact checking or respect for the indigenous culture. Thank you for writing detailed information about tribal membership, it certainly helps weed out the ‘Generokees’ haha.

  28. Storm Norton says:

    Great informative read it helped me understand the somewhat complex rules and regulations to become a member/citizenship of the Cherokee whether that is direct lineal descent or CDIB.

  29. Brianna Coulter says:

    Although I think it’s important for the Cherokee tribe to have these sets of measures and requirements, I also think it’s a shame that so many people have lost their heritage and/or chance to be a member of the tribe because of where they settled.

  30. Gary Jeffrey says:

    The process and limitations to citizenship has me intrigued about the other citizenship processed for other tribes as well. The comments and points brought up by others definitely served as a good learning piece as well! Very informative piece, not only from your research but from many others and their opinions as well!

  31. Alvelia Farmer says:

    It seems to me, that in order to be considered of Cherokee descent, there is a lot of legal guidelines and stipulations. I never knew things could get so complicated! Overall, another thought provoking article.

  32. Donna Lee Avera Hunter says:

    My father is Cherokee, not sure of the blood precentage but his looks are typical Cherokee, pure black hair, brown eyes, dark skin. He was born in Georgia, and family traces back before ‘Trail Of Tears’ or so said his Father. Mother is also Cherokee, but not sure of her family history. Often when growing up many said to me you don’t look Cherokee, my answer is no I was and am not. When asked why because my parents are Cherokee, my answer is simple I am adoped and as far as I know my birth family is part of the Souix Nation. It did not anger me when I was called names, such as ‘want to be Indian’, or worse ‘White Indian’….I would state the truth and say I am not Indian…Cherokee or Souix..never calimed to be, but I am the proud daughter of a Cherokee Father by adoption!As for the ‘Cherokee Indian Princess’ theroy..No, No, and more No! My Grand Father always told me that many people claim this, but there were not that many ‘Cheif Daughters’born that could falicilitate this so called ‘Cherokee Indian Princess’, he said that for this to be true it would have to have been one born in every other ‘Asi’everyday for a 100 years running or more! Although I am not Cherokee by bith…in my heart of hearts I am in sperit. I married a wonderful Cherokee man from West Virginia and we have been so for 38 years. Thank You for allowing me to comment.
    Donna Lee Avera Hunter

  33. Rob Tree says:

    My grandfathers grandmother was a Cherokee girl from land now known as South Carolina. She was called Rachel from the Jack. My grandfathers grandfather (Said to be of the unknown people and a free person of color) stole her from her mother and brought her here to live against her will. She never saw her family again. (In today’s society, it would be called kidnapping and child abduction)
    She had many children and named them oddly.
    Duck, Stream and Oudi were some of the 9 children named by her. Soon after 1900 my grandfather Albert and his sister Elvi applied for and received reparation money from the state. It wasn’t much but I believe it to be $7.00 each.
    My blood quantum would evidently be too low to register for membership in the Cherokee but why would I want to? Do they truly believe they are the only people in the United States who are Cherokee? I dont want any of their welfare benefits or grant money. Im happy in my heart and soul as to who I am and need no other to recognize me as ‘Of Native American decent’

  34. Donna Lee Avera Hunter says:

    I do have one more comment to make, which comes from my Grandfather. His words sum up how our family feels about the strict rules of proving a person is a true Cherokee or of true Cherokee decent…. the words are as follows:

    Acceptance Of A True Cherokee…
    If a person was born of a Cherokee Father…
    If a person was born of a Cherokee Mother…
    If a person has Cherokee Grand Parents…
    If a person has one Cherokee parent and one parent of another race…
    If a person has one set of Grand Parents Cherokee, and the other set of Grand Parents of another race….
    If a person has the physical looks of full or part or just a little Cherokee, or perhaps the looks are that of their parent of another race…
    If a person speaks fluent Cherokee, or speaks not one word of Cherokee, just English…
    If a person talks of past Cherokee Family History with fact and reverence of stories past down thru the ages…
    If a person has the true heart and soul of the Cherokee…


    I believe with my heart and soul all my Grand Fathers words of wisdom!
    It is also my belief that sadly many tribal leaders have forgotten these simple elements that identify a person as being a true Cherokee or of true Cherokee decent.

  35. Alyssandra Schwind says:

    I just am bewildered that people are really that naive to think they are a descendant of an “indian princess.” I know you mention this at least once every time we have class, and to think people have not caught onto the gist that they need to stop saying that or really think about what they are saying is just silly. Another great article professor!

  36. Quinn O'Connor says:

    The idea that everyone has a “Cherokee” Princess ancestor is funny and sad at the same time. People pass on information without any basis nowadays.

  37. Alyssa Harford says:

    Disclaimer: I will first start by saying that I am not researched enough or informed enough to debate this topic. With that being said, I will only grant my opinion on the topic, which is nothing more than personal logic with complete disregard for politics.
    I think it is necessary for there to be so many regulations regarding Native American Descent and claims on bloodlines. If you are a descendant of a Cherokee tribe and the blood runs through your veins, yet your ancestors ran away from their tribe, or conceded to the new government in order to ensure their survival (although understandable), this is not necessarily a nobel act and did nothing to ensure the survival of the tribe. Therefore, how can you be so quick to claim your place among a tribe and feel a certain entitlement or right to the heritage, if in fact your ancestors did nothing to ensure the survival of the culture? I wouldn’t/couldn’t be proud to know my ancestors ran away to seek refuge instead of fighting on behalf of their family, for their tribe. If Any country decided to overthrow Our current government, terrorists per se, would you automatically claim their religion? Agree to abide by the new laws set forth by their government? Would you abandon your pride as An American just to live another day? Would you be so quick to forsake and forget all of the American lives lost in all of the wars and battles fought to protect our freedoms and our way of life? If you would then, in my not so humble opinion, you do not deserve the right to call yourself an American. So to relate, If the same thing happened to the Native Americans, and they chose to assimilate, then they made the choice to be seen as every other multi-cultural American and therefore do not deserve the right to claim that proud heritage. None of us still living fought in those wars, stop trying to take credit for something your ancestors didn’t have a hand in preserving. The right of cultural pride is reserved for only those worthy of it.

    • A'lul'koy_Chumash_Native says:

      Your words ring of truth and I agree wholeheartedly. If your ancestors chose to assimilate by choice into mainstream American society, you’re more than likely are white Americans, with all the privileges that come with that. You weren’t forcefully removed from your homelands, but the Cherokee were. They were removed from their ancestral homelands to hopefully die in Indian country. The people now claiming Cherokee ancestry are now living in the Cherokees ancestral homelands, a luxury that was not afforded to the the real Cherokee. Now these same people who think they are Cherokee and should have all the rights of the Cherokee who were forced to walk the trail of tears like cattle in the dead of winter. These are the ones who are attempting to appropriate Cherokee culture, lands, heritage and other people’s ancestors. They are the ones who are indignant at being excluded now by the Cherokees in Oklahoma, so now are attempting to create fake state recognized Cherokee culture clubs in the Cherokee homelands and all other states in the union. There are a few Fake Cherokee culture clubs in California who are trying to appropriate California Native homelands, who are nothing but wannabes white American descendants Who’s ancestors came here during the gold rush to dispossess the California Natives, create state militias that collected scalps of men, women and children after genociding them, who the government paid millins of dollars out for white men to clear the land and state of hundreds of separate nations. The California genocide of its indigenous people. Their ancestors cleared the land of the California Natives, their descendants are now claiming to be Cherokees Indians of tuolumme meadows in the Sierra Nevadas, once again disposessig the true heirs of that region, the Miwok Natives. Disgusting!

      • Rebecca Canales says:


        You sound so full of hatred.

        • To: Alyssa Harford and A’lul’koy_Chumash_Native
          MY DISCLAIMER: I respond with my opinions that were once similar to yours until I had done more extensive research on the issue. Alyssa, I appreciate your candor opinion and the respectable way in which you presented your perspective. Quite often, viewpoints need to be seen from various other angles as well. If indeed, someone chose deliberately to turn their back on their own people and refuse to fight for their peoples’ rights, I would agree that their actions were less than honorable. However, the situation was not simply that black and white. There are other considerations that go unnoticed and not taken into account. Early in the colonial period, there was a great deal of trading with colonist as well as intermarriage. This was the case with Mataoka aka Amonite (better known by her girlhood nickname of Pocahontas) when she married Englishman, John Rolfe. There was no racial bias to this marriage at that time or many other similar marriages. Racism grew out of human greed. As time went on slavery further drew out a level of avarice that cost too many lives. Many Native Americans traded goods for the African slaves. Other Native Americans traded their Native American slaves (usually prisoners of war) to plantation owners. Many plantation owners took these female Native American slaves as wives. Such was the case with a plantation owner in the Louisiana territory by the name of Michael Fowler. He owned a Native American woman who he took as a wife, even having her live in the house with him as his wife. Michael Fowler treated his children like any other white man would and gave them his name as well as included them in his will. Although the children of this relationship were considered “free”, they were classified as mulattos and census takers refused to distinguish them or other manumitted Native Americans slaves as anything other than mulatto. His daughter, Isabella Fowler is listed on the Dawes Roll. She was married off at a young age to another slave owner and with the demise of her own mother, she had no way of knowing from where she came or who her next of kin would have been. Some of these Native American slaves had been enslaved for decades when they were quite young. In the event they finally attained free status, exactly how were they supposed to be reunited with their Native American families, when they often were taken at such young ages and moved or sold to areas of the county unknown to them? Many other Native American children were taken from their clans with promises that the white men would educate them and send them to school. That turned out to be nothing more than a boarding school compound/orphanage for these children and often they had no means to reunite with family ever again. The same was true for many of the Asian indentured servants. Benjamin Franklin demonstrated very well that if a people are divided they will crumble. Thus, united we stand and divided we fall. This is exactly what happened to the Native Americans. Wars between the Native tribes were instigated. Wars with the European invaders were on-going. This continued until there were only 5 tribes left with limited populations. They were divided and conquered. Although these 5 tribes ultimately came together in an effort to unite and establish a peace treaty with the government, it was too late in the game. These were the peoples left with which the government made a treaty to send them on the Trail of Tears and export everyone to reservation lands that were not part of their known homelands. As the Cherokee walked the horrible and often fatal Trail of Tears, some of their black slaves walked right beside them. The tribal leaders had no choice left if they were going to save their people from complete annihilation. They begrudgingly accepted the terms to be relegated to reservations. For the most part, they did very much the same thing A’lul’koy Chumash Native accuses those forced into assimilating into a foreign culture of having done. Not all situations are as black and white as some may think. Generations of Native Americans were forcibly admixed into the lower class of the established American states and territories and most often were alone. One of my other ancestors was an indentured Japanese man who eventually earned his freedom. He took for his wife, a Amerindian woman he bought out of slavery. It is important to consider all circumstances and contemplate what one would do if forced into the same situation. A’lul’koy_Chumash_Native, have you ever considered that many who are so anxious to reunite with their Amerindian roots are also victims of the original cause that destroyed indigenous Native American life? From that perspective, one might also conclude that generations of people were forcibly assimilated and would speak volumes about an entirely different group of Native American victims. Refusing to acknowledge those that legitimately fell into this category is no better than what our ancestors had to endure. I will acknowledge there are many immoral and unethical souls out there that exploit others. At the same time, there are also many moral and ethical individuals who led movements to right the wrongs of society. My ancestors were among those that were forcibly assimilated into the society of the time. Yet, one of them went as far as suing the government for the right to claim their Native American heritage and forced the government to begin including “Indian” as an option on the census reports. I am hardly considered a white American. In fact, I have been considered many other things but most often I am asked if I am Native American. DNA results prove my heritage in spite of the fact that I do not know exactly where my ancestor was originally born. I only know she was enslaved and bout out of slavery to become some man’s wife. Meanwhile, I follow some of the Native American cultural news. There are many more officers and tribal leaders that are whiter than I am. Please do not tell me they did not have various intermarital occurrences in their ancestry. Are they more Native American than I because they had the privilege of learning their culture? What of the African Americans that were assimilated in the Native American culture due to enslavement or lack of choices for survival? Does that make them less Native American? So maybe I was lost in the governmental bureaucracy of times past and do not know how to speak Cherokee. I do have the oral traditions passed down to me. I know what I am in my soul. The bottom line is that I choose to be a part of the solution rather than be a part of the problem. I would have to agree with Rebecca Canales’ recognition of bitterness and hatred. If we as a society continue to play the blame game by grouping everyone into the same category based on assumptions, then we are just as guilty of promulgating unwarranted bitterness and hatred. This makes no one any better than those that exploited humanity for their own gains, goals, and missions. There is no better time than the present to begin thinking in terms of United Native Americans, no matter the tribe or history from which they come.

          • Jennifer says:

            Does this make it a little like having Polish ancestry but not official Polish citizenship? Is this a diaspora?

    • Steve Smith says:

      Those mixed bloods who passed for white prior to 1830 did so out of pure survival. They refused to bow down to the government and to be driven like cattle to Indian Territory. So now their descendants can’t claim Cherokee ancestry because of that? That is pretty ignorant. It is the ancestors of those who are enrolled who chose to bow down to the white government and receive a prison camp card. There are some who hid, but still practiced their heritage in secret. And others did not. They couldn’t own lands, vote, work, etc, if they claimed to be Native American. To claim mixed blood in the South was like having a death wish. So please, don’t try to discourage those whose ancestors who ran away to try to reclaim their heritage because it won’t work.

      • Steve Smith, I agree with you. I know I also posted a response that is rather lengthy, but I do hope you can take a moment to read it.

  38. Delaware decendant and cdib card carrier says:

    In my recent search of my family heritage to be able to pass on family history and traditions that have been forgotten over the past couple hundred years mostly the last hundred is most detrimental to my family tree mainly when our American government through congressional hearings in the mid to late eighteen hundreds stole my family’s deeds to the land that was forever ours according to documents signed by th President of the country and Delaware tribal leaders to name a couple John Connor who was chief during that time,and also John Sarcoxie assistant to chief Connor who happened to be my great grandmothers father when after a long investigation into the troops at post Leavenworth found that the post commander and supporting staff undermined the laws handed down from Secretary of State to the war department on how to handle settlers trying to stake claims on Federally protected Indian reserves. Their job was to remove any and all settlers that either accidentally or by just pure ignorance of the treaty’s that were already in affect. And threw multiple correspondence letters and out right accusations that in the end proved to be correct mind you threw proper due process not because the Officers told the truth and accepted there guilt no and this is not a rant of made up info all the deeds for the land I have mentioned and war department correspondence letters between all the officers and Commanding General of said office including secretary of states findings and his orders to the war dpt. To arrest and detain said officers and strip them of any government benefits and furthermore confiscate all land and building rights gained by these men for using post Leavenworth as a staging point to start a town while using government funds meant for military operations to pay men to work and clear land for the start of their own town on Indian land that they were supposed to be policing against settlers that might try what they did. Every bit so far is backed up by our own government in past documents all filed and accessible with no security clearance needed since it is so far in the past. Well I read all this and was starting to feel like something was going in the Delaware’s favor but as I was going down the congressional hearing notes and reading about all these findings that America was about to fix their wrong doing all of a sudden after the secretary of States demand to arrest the post commander and supporting staff. Was the last document of multiple correspondence letters being openly brought up in the hearings with all the proof needed everything came to a halt and it was asked if anyone from the Delaware tribe was present to stake claim to all the findings and and show that there is reason to go forward in the matter one man answered the man that was there to defend the tribes claim with land deeds in hand but since our government leaders found a loophole they nullified presidentially signed deeds and dropped the case in favor of American settlers and crooked officers of post Leavenworth because the man sent to defend the Delawares rights was not a signatory on the deeds and not of Indian decent. Immediately he asked for another hearing to overturn the congressional decision and was pretty much brushed off.
    Well this is just one of my findings of to many more to describe of how our American government has dealt with Native Americans and taken mostly everything they could from them and stand up straight look you in the eye and say oops ya it looks bad but that little technicality that gave us the right to go back on the words of presidential hand shakes which where I live is as good as a signed contract is not the proper way to treat people that without their help in pivotal battles against the British all Americans excluding myself and probably most of the North East tribes descendants would be Brittish still to this day I excluded myself and many other Indians cause if you know about our history the north eastern Indians taught Settlers gorilla warfare and fought alongside them to beat the Brittish when they attacked from Atlantic seaboard and inland from the great lakes oh did most people forget so patriotic people who have the Gaul to tell Indians to stop whining and be grateful for what American soldiers have done since and think of the libertys they afford us now so forget about your great great great whatever princess or chief need to probably study a little more American History and maybe then you will realize the luxury’s that anyone living in U.S.A. We’re donated by members of my American Indian ancestors and we should all be thankful that when they gave someone their word they would stand by it I don’t believe they even ever tried to steal anything from settlers they were to busy trying to figure out all the magic tricks the white man kept coming up with in order to suppress and eradicate a race of people without looking like they were breaking any laws.
    Here is another fact the white settlers were so advanced in contract and deed work if they wanted something they could of had Natives giving up everything for a piece of paper that white scholars say is a legal I breakable contract and they actually did over and over and over till the Natives were left with a 10th of what was theirs to start. In what reality in any society would you have me believe that 10% of the worst land in this country is more than enough payment for the 90% you decide to keep and then do contractual fraud and I say that because if two people enter into a contract where one side is knowingly making sure that they get what they want and can change it in there favor anytime any good person would say that if you don’t understand get a lawyer to help. Our own government would get them a lawyer then just when that starts to happen let’s wait and find any technicality that we could use against the idiot we offered to help. Damn I can not believe men that wrote the constitution which is legal binding to this day also wrote treaty’s ,deeds for land signed w/presidential seals didn’t write them in the U.S.’s favor. Believe me I am a true American Patriot While being the best native I can it actually hurts me inside that after reading all the documents available people can’t or just flat out won’t accept the fact that the original Settlers were Bonified master crooks and to this day America still won’t give the Native family’s A 10th of what they owe them.
    From today forward I am going to find a way to start a foundation for the education of Native American students and their write to free college tuition from any school that is on property that was ever recognized on any map as native land. Really it is the least all Americans could do for what was lost by way of trickery and deceit of our highest members of office since before those offices existed.

  39. Delaware decendant and cdib card carrier says:

    I am actually going to spend every moment of my time that my family can afford me to spare to make sure all American Native Decendants that are registered and recognized by the American government have the right to free education at reputable and accredited institutions. I believe it is the least America can Doctor all the out right mishandling of the civil rights of every American Indian family since the very beginning of our great country. Just a little fact did you happen to know that American Indians are the only race in America that is issued federal I.D.’s to prove their heritage.

  40. Little Feather says:

    There were NO Cherokee Princesses. There were “Miss Cherokee’s”, but NO Cherokee Princesses. I am part Cherokee and Powhatan.

  41. jessica says:

    My grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Howard Palmer, her mother was Amanda Elizabeth Welker Cutright, her mother was Patience Cheek Welker, her father is Randolph Welker he was said to be pure cherokee how do i go about finding out for sure. Her sister was Elizabeth Tignor Cheek Lee. They all look indian. I have heard stories but want proof. Thank you

  42. Wow, this was enlightening to read. Obviously, I am a few years behind the original posting of this information. As enlightening as all of this information is, it leaves me with warm feelings and my own genealogical trail of tears. While many would agree that NA’s got a raw deal and lost their homelands (replacement lands are not the same as the land of birth), they were also wronged by so many governmental acts of greed. The way in which the government handled the NA’s is horrible, to say the least. Like many, my NA heritage is not questionable in my mind. I have found all of the paper trail documentation and have the oral traditions of my heritage. I feel a sense of mourning for having been kept away from my NA cultural heritage. One of my ancestors actually filed a law suit against the state of South Carolina, in order to secure the right to claim his mother’s NA heritage. Ultimately, he won the right to have his matrilineal heritage honored. I have always been told it was Cherokee but cannot be certain of whether it was Choctaw or another tribe. As it turns out, the census taker rules and regulations left much to their own discernment. What I have found are references to mulatto. According to the directions given to the census takers, they were free to determine what to indicate and Indian (NA) was not an option until later years. According to the Federal government standards, NA’s were exempt from paying taxes. So it behooved the local agencies to group everyone into the mulatto category whereby taxes were assessed. As a result, generations of NA’s were lost in the mulatto category and separated from their heritage. I am now working on the other side of this family line to find documentation on another NA ancestor. On the one side of my family I have all the verification I need and one of their wives is listed on the Dawes Roll. I just do not know exactly how to determine whether they were Choctaw or another group. I am uncertain as to where to begin to find such answers. The Federal bureaucracy created a mess of the Cherokee. I would love to be able to apply for Cherokee status but do not think my documentation would be approved. That is fine, as I know in my heart from where my roots come as well as the paper trails that prove it. I even have a photograph of an older NA ancestor for who’s name is unknown. Meanwhile, I cannot help but feel a sense of loss in being kept away from the Cherokee culture to which I should have been privy. Not only did bureaucracy ruin this bridge to my ancestry but also the social stigmas that were created. It is a shame that so many NA’s that assimilated into the local population or were admix with african american mulatto slaves have been lost and made to feel they had to hide their roots because of being classified as mulattoes and being treated as less than human. I have always been intrigued and many might say naturally drawn to NA culture and would love to be more a part of this culture in the course of my life. I am discovering more and more of the things my grandmother (b. 1901) taught me were of the NA tradition, including medicinal home remedies. Sadly, an entire continent of NA human beings faced extinction or adaptation to the invaders of their lands. It is also sad that the demand to establish guidelines by the Federal Government has also closed many doors to NA descendants. I cannot help but to think these were deliberately intended to limit the population numbers of NA’s and thus exercise more control over their existence. It is not as though I can simply attend a local Pow Wow and begin learning about all the cultural things I have missed out on during my lifetime. Of course I have read a great deal about NA Cherokee culture, but it is not the same as living a culture. Truly, I mourn for the loss of my cultural ancestry by means of first hand experience and communal bonding. Personally, this is a genealogical “Trail of Tears” for me.

  43. Adam Hovey says:

    My great great grandfather was born in Indian Territory and is apparently on the Dawes roll. For better or for worse, I am not currently enrolled in any tribe. (My mother is a mixed blood, my father had Sauk and Lakota ancestry). That said, I think the Cherokee Nation needs to chill out with the “Fraudulent” Indian task force. I agree there are groups that really are fraudulent, but not everyone who claims to be Cherokee is lying about it. I think they should at least give state recognized (Cherokee) tribes the benefit of the doubt in historical Cherokee homelands.

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