Soon I will be writing about a family who mistakenly based their claim to Cherokee ancestry on testimony from an 1896 application. The researchers in this family probably had no ill intent when they did it, but unfortunately, they didn't know enough about the documents they were using to make an informed conclusion about the information within the application.
The 1896 applications were not made by citizens of the Cherokee Nation. They were made by people who were not recognized as citizens of the Cherokee Nation. This is an important thing to know. Too many people find out that their ancestor made one of these applications and then assume the ancestor was Cherokee. This isn't true.
Those 1896 applications were wrought with fraud and falsified testimony. The people filing the applications did not file them because they were proud of their so called "Cherokee heritage" but instead, because they wanted to get some free land.
More about these applications and those who made the applications is found in the words of the late Jerri Chasteen, who was, in the 1980's and 1990's, considered qualified as an expert witness on Cherokee history and Cherokee tribal citizenship rights by the Oklahoma Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
"The fraud and perjury involved in these applications wrote a new chapter of shame for the non-Indians who could not stand to have anything that they could not steal from the Indians- their last remaining land! Be aware that at this same time, there were hundreds of thousands acres of public land available to these people under the Homestead Act- BUT that wasn't the "forbidden fruit" that the Indian lands had become to them. I am happy to report that all of the 1896 applications (- including the ones submitted from CHINA) were rejected."and
"This "1896 roll" was outlawed because of the massive amounts of perjured testimony that was being purchased and submitted, and all of the attempted fraud that was being committed by the applicants..... If their efforts were not so despicable in purpose, these applications would be quite comical and very entertaining to anyone who knows anything about Cherokee history, traditions or laws."
As you can see, those applications are not a good indication of Cherokee ancestry, but instead, the opposite. If a person filed a 1896 application, chances are, they were not Cherokee.
Stay tuned as we explore the 1896 application of one man and how that family's researchers' misunderstanding of what that application actually meant has led many, many people to make some pretty glaring mistakes in their family tree.
Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.
copyright 2012, Polly's Granddaughter - TCBTweet