Friday, October 2, 2009

Not Enrolling = Not An Option

Often times, people who cannot prove their Cherokee ancestry claim their ancestor refused to enroll. Apparently these people do not understand that such claims are completely false. The real Cherokees were enrolled whether they wanted to participate in allotment or not. Some were arrested and forced to enroll while others were enrolled against their will by those in their own communities.

Since I know someone will come along and dispute what I write, I decided to show what lengths the government would go to in order to get those true heirs to the Cherokee Nation to enroll. The following is a news story that appeared in several newspapers around the country.

Musgogee, Ind. T., March 16--Rather than submit to a hair cut eight full-blood Cherokee Indians, arrested yesterday, charged with being in contempt of the federal court, today enrolled before the Dawes Commission. These Indians are members of the Ketoowah society, composed of an element In the Cherokee nation opposed to enrollment. Last month Judge Raymond, of the United States territorial court, ordered them to present themselves for enrollment under pain of contempt. They disobeyed the order and were arrested and placed In the federal jail here. Last night the government officials pleaded with them to submit,but they declined stoutly. Redbird Smith their leader, making an impassioned speech in defense of their action. Argument had no avail and the order was issued today that each prisoner should have his hair cut. They were lined up to take their turn in the barber chair. When the first Indian had lost his hair the others broke down and signified their willingness to enroll.

That story shows that refusing to enroll was NOT an option. They were going to enroll all Cherokees whether the Cherokees wanted to be enrolled or not. I have been studying and researching Cherokee history and genealogy for a long time. I have never found anyone who is ineligible for registration with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma to have had an ancestor who should have been listed on the Dawes Roll but was left off of it. So, when someone says their Cherokee ancestor refused to enroll or was a "free Cherokee who answered to no government", it is a pretty sure bet, their ancestor were not entitled to enrollment in the first place.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thank you for listening.

The Granddaughter

(Source for the news article - The Atlanta Constitution; Atlanta, GA; March 17, 1902; p. 2) Transcription by Polly's Granddaughter.


  1. Do you have any information on the accuracy of blood percentage given on the rolls? I've been told my whole life that my great great grandmother was full-blood, but she and her sisters appear on the Dawes Roll as 1/8. Her father is listed as 1/8 as well which doesn't entirely make sense. I've heard that it wasn't necessarily a good thing to be "full blood", but I can't imagine someone proud of their heritage saying they were anything less.

  2. If your great great grandmother was the child of two people who were 1/8 Cherokee, then it would make sense. From my experience, usually the blood quantum listed was fairly close to their actual amount of Indian blood. If you would like me to take a look, post your great great grandma's name and I will see what I can find concerning this.

  3. Where is the best place to start looking for relatives? My spouse's family are from Kentucky, but am not sure where to start the search to see if his relatives are actually listed on any of the rolls. Thanks for any assistance!


Your comments are welcome!