What Percentage of Native American Do You Have To Be To Enroll With a Tribe?

Posted By PowWow Articles January 8th, 2018 Last Updated on: April 4th, 2022

What percentage of Native American blood do you need to be in a tribe? And how much American Indian blood is required to be considered Native American?

Native ancestry is a nuanced topic. Many people with Native American ties often wonder whether they have enough American Indian blood or a strong enough Native heritage to be considered for tribal enrollment.

But how do you know for sure? We'll break it down for you here.

Native Americans are the people who contain blood one of the more than 500 distinguished tribes that still endure as sovereign states within the United States’ present geographical boundaries. These are the Native American tribes that descended from the pre-Colombian indigenous peoples of North America.

Related Info – Native American Ancestry — What % of Native American am I?

For a person to be considered Native American by the United States government, they must either have a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card or be enrolled in a tribe.

A CDIB card is issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) an agency under the United States Department of Interior. This certificate (CDIB) is the basis most tribes use to enroll tribal members.

Related Info – What Native American tribe am I from?

The CDIB is an official U.S. document used to certify that a person does possess a percentage of Native American blood and therefore has legitimate Native ancestry. Note though, the blood must be identified with a federally recognized Native American tribe.


The Bureau of Indian Affairs issues the certificate after the individual has forwarded a finalized genealogy. The genealogy must be submitted with legal documents that include birth certificates, documents showing the applicant’s descents both from the maternal and the paternal sides.

Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card issued to Morris Phillip Konstantin (Phil Konstantin) in 1996. It shows him to be 3/16ths Cherokee by blood.

A Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood shows the constituent blood degree of a particular tribe or that of all tribes in the applicant’s ancestry. The percentage required by each tribe to enroll varies. Some tribes require that a minimum degree must be met before granting membership to an individual.

Related Info – DNA Results vs. Tribal Enrollment vs. Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood — What Do They All Mean?

Interestingly, even the federal government requires that you meet a certain minimum before granting Native Americans federal benefits.

To give you an example, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians require a minimum of 1/16 degree of Cherokee Indian blood for tribal enrollment, while the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Higher Education Grant expects you to have the minimum of 1/4 Native American blood percentages.

That means 25% of your blood is of Native American ancestry.

Tribal Blood Quantum Calculator and Requirements

A Blood Quantum Calculator can also be helpful in certain instances. This will help you zero in on the origin of your American Indian heritage. where here you got the Native American heritage from. The calculations are translated as:

For instance, if you are 50% Native Ameican or half blood quantum, that means you have one parent who's of direct American Indian lineage / Half Blooded Quantum meaning One Parent

If you are 25% American Indian or one-quarter blood quantum, that means you have one grandparent who's of direct Native American lineage. 

The same conversion rate applies as you go further down the line. If you are 12.5% American Indian or one-eighth blood quantum, you have one great-grandparent.

If you are 6.25% or one-sixteenth blood quantum, you have one great-great grandparent, and so on. 

Read more about Blood Quantum laws here.

50 Percent / One-Half Blood Quantum (One Parent)

Kialegee Tribal Town
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Mississippi
St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
White Mountain Apache Tribe, Arizona
Yomba Shoshone Tribe, Utah

25 Percent / One-Fourth Blood Quantum (One Grandparent)

Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Native American Indians
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Washington
Oneida Tribe of Indians, Wisconsin
Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma
Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Arizona
Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Kansas
Navajo Nation, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico
Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, North and South Dakota
Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe, California
Havasupai-Prescott Tribe, Arizona
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Oklahoma
Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, Montana
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, New York, Canada

Related Info: Native American Ancestry — Start Your Family History Search

12.5 Percent / One-Eighth Blood Quantum (One Great-Grandparent)

Apache Tribe, Oklahoma
Comanche Nation, Oklahoma
Delaware Nation, Oklahoma
Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Reservation, Oregon
Fort Sill Apache Tribe, Oklahoma
Karuk Tribe, California
Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation, Washington
Northwestern Band of Shoshoni Nation of Utah (Washakie)
Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Native American Indians, Oklahoma
Pawnee Nation, Oklahoma
Ponca Nation, Oklahoma
Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma
Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska
Squaxin Island Tribe of the Squaxin Island Reservation, Washington
Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Washington
Three Affiliated Native American Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation
Upper Skagit Indian Tribe of Washington
Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Wichita, Keechi, Waco and Tawakonie)

6.25 Percent / One-Sixteenth Blood Quantum (One Great-Great-Grandparent)

Caddo Nation
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon
Fort Sill Apache Tribe
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma
Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, North Carolina
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Lineal Native American Descent

Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town
Cherokee Nation
Chickasaw Nation
Choctaw Nation
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Delaware Tribe of Indians
Eastern Shawnee Tribe
Kaw Nation
Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut
Miami Tribe of Oklahoma
Modoc Tribe
Muscogee Creek Nation
Osage Nation
Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma
Peoria Tribe of Indians
Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan
Seminole Nation
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma
Shawnee Tribe
Thlopthlocco Tribal Town
Tonkawa Tribe
Wyandotte Nation

(List courtesy NativeVillage.org)

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Lynette Warren

Good article. One thing, though. You listed Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Oregon twice. Correctly, as 6.25% (1/16) blood quantum requirement, incorrectly as 12.5% (1/8) BQ. It used to be 1/8, but we lowered it in the 1990s. There is still much discussion about lowering it to 1/32, but there has been no action by the tribal government.

[…] To give you an example, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians require a minimum of 1/16 degree of Cherokee Indian blood for tribal enrollment, while the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Higher Education Grant expects you to have the minimum of 1/4 Native American blood percentages. via […]

I found my great grandmothers Saw Roll number. But Ancestry.com doesn’t help. Also my great grandmas picture is in the Book Cherokee Nation Trail of Blood Melissa Houston

Christine Wabooz

That is amazing! Ancestry isn’t very helpful for indigenous genealogy, in my experience at least. I have both Canadian (Weskarini, Wabanaki, Oji-Cree, Mi’kmaq, Métis) and American (Miami, Mohican, Pawnee, Chippewa, Mohawk) native blood. My search has been a long journey.
Familysearch.org was helpful in some areas, census’ were as well (Canadian census’ list ethnicity and languages), any local, provincial/state, and federal archives are a great resource (especially in or around where your mom grew up and lived throughout her life), vital statistics sites (births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, etc.), Local genealogical societies, local historical societies, old band/tribal membership lists that are available, privacy/access to information requests, etc. It’s a lot of detective work, but it’s fulfilling in the end! 🙂

If only the Canadian federal government viewed native status and blood quantum like the American standards. The definition of “status native” and “native” in general seems to be ever changing according to the government’s convenience. For example, the Metis Nation are apparently not status natives, nor will they ever be, although under s.25 and 35 the Constitution Act, 1982 – all First Nations, Metis and Inuit are recognized Natives and are deserving of equal rights and equal treatment, including equal benefits from the government. BUT this is not the case. Ironically enough, the federal government had no problem stealing away these “halfbreed” children from their parents and forcing them into the residential school system that has stolen so many Aboriginal lives from us with their cultural genocide. Where’s the Metis peoples Truth and Reconciliation?)!?

Also, 50% blood quantum is the minimum amount required for federal native status, although Bill C-31 is trying to amend the discriminative Indian Act provisions that enfranchised generations of women and children due to gender, marrying into a different race or culture, scrip in exchange for giving up native rights and status, etc. People here in Canada are actually afraid and taught to be ashamed and have learned to hide their native backgrounds, roots and ancestry. The Métis in my family in the 1800s and early 1900s would lie on the census stating their ethnicity as just “French” rather than “mixed Indian” or “halfbreed” or “other breed”. Other indigenous family members who were full native, evidently had a much more difficult time attempting to do so, and instead went by numerous last names which changed each time they moved to a new town or province.

[…] To give you an example, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians require a minimum of 1/16 degree of Cherokee Indian blood for tribal enrollment, while the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Higher Education Grant expects you to have the minimum of 1/4 Native American blood percentages. via […]


i’m 1/12 and still don’t understand what it means. we are métis and in canada, and 1/12 is small. can someone tell me what i can apply for with this? somebody told me to apply for a status card but i’m not sure if you have to be a certain amount of native to claim one. i’m very confused

Wendy Williams

I don’t see the Iowa Tribe of Kansas & Nebraska here 🤔🙄


I was told I am part Choctaw but at my age of 72 it does not matter and married a part Cherokee man, my enemy! lol

Brenna Garcia

I wish we would start calling ourselves Nations again. We were never tribes, if I’m not mistaken it’s what Columbus called the different Nations because he was ignorant. We were our Nation, Human beings, descendants of this land. I’m just tired of it, just like I’m not Latina,Hispanic, terms given to put us in a box to help them understand how they will regard us.

Brenna Garcia

What about Nations that aren’t Federally recognized? Ya know there’s not enough of you left after the genocide so we’re not going to recognize you. You can’t get any benefits that other Nations are entitled to either. As a Shasta, once registered, and Wintu descendent, I am also Tarascan from Mexico. I was told there’s no point in registering with the BIA because of this lack of recognition. My Grandmother is in the Shasta Nation Book registered with the library of Congress. This so disheartening.

Jennifer Clavell

Discovered 15% indigenous central American Guatemala
7% taino native Puerto Rico 2% indigenous Andies 1%cuban indigenous 1% eastern south America. I want to claim my Taino ancestry how can I do this

sadena samayoa

my husaband is from guatemala and i have friends who are full native from guatemala it is hard to speak with them since they speak no spanish i have one of ther kids or husband translate and he barley speaks spanish. it is awsome my husband could have some native blood but we are not sure

Mary Helen

According to Ancestry.com testing, I am 47% Native American. I found where my grandfathers grandfather is registered on Indian census as 100% Native American with the Laguna tribe in NM. How would I check to see if I would qualify to become a member or who do I contact?

Cynthia Eufracio

Hi Helen how did you find the Information on where someone signed up to a tribe from your lineage. I’m almost 50% native and my parents have no idea

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