Lineages, Inc.

While very few American frontiersmen married a “Cherokee Princess”, thousands wed Native Americans before 1906. If you’ve heard stories about a Cherokee ancestor somewhere in your family tree and want to claim your Native American heritage by becoming a member of the tribe, you’ll have to prove it to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Cherokee Nation. Only after your application has been accepted will you become eligible to receive the benefits of tribal membership.

To be eligible for Tribal Membership with the Cherokee Nation, you must apply and be able to present a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. You must apply for a CDIB and provide acceptable legal documents that connect you to an ancestor whose name appears with a roll number and blood degree from the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes-Cherokee Nation (commonly called the Dawes Commission Rolls or Final Rolls). These rolls were compiled between 1899 and 1906. Quantum of Indian blood must be computed from the nearest paternal and/or maternal direct ancestor(s) of Indian blood listed on the Final Rolls. Many descendants of Cherokee Indians cannot be certified, nor can they qualify for tribal membership in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, because their ancestors were not enrolled during the final enrollment. The requirements at that time were:

  1. Apply between 1899 and 1906.
  2. Appear on previous tribal rolls compiled in 1880 or 1896.
  3. Have a permanent residence within the Cherokee Nation (now the 14 northeastern counties of Oklahoma).

If the ancestors had separated from the Tribe and settled in states such as Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas, they lost citizenship within the Cherokee Nation. Only enrolled members of the Cherokee Nation named on the Final Rolls and/or their direct descendants can be granted a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood and/or Tribal Membership. CDIB’s are issued only through the natural parents. In cases of adoption, quantum of Indian blood must be proven through the biological parents to the enrolled ancestor. A copy of the Final Decree of Adoption must accompany the application for CDIB, as well as the State Certified, full image/photocopy of the birth record. All information will remain confidential.

Lineages, Inc. has been tracing Cherokee ancestors for 30 years.


3 Responses

  1. Iam 25%% Cherokee native American blood my mom Patricia ann russell was 50%%% Cherokee American Indian my grandpa my mother father was 100%%%% Cherokee blood line native American Indian cheif and my great grand parents were both 100%%%% Cherokee blood spoke tongue native from Kentucky how do I claim my benefits my grandfather name Oscar Alvin russell and great great grandparents name kenith russell do help me claim my

  2. Hi Sally,
    You might be surprised to discover how many other individuals like yourself are wondering about their ancestral family and what chance they have to be admitted into the Cherokee Tribe.
    The application requirements into the Cherokee nation are fairly specific. We recommend looking up the CIBD application packet on the Cherokee Nation’s website. Go to, click on downloadable forms and print out the “Cherokee Nation CIDB Application Packet.” You will want to read it very carefully. Also, consider calling the Tribal enrollment office, to confirm the online form is up to date. Based on the instructions, you need to have concrete proof back to an enrolled ancestor with a citizenship number. So if your father, grandfather, or great-grandfather ever was a citizen of the Cherokee nation, you only need to document back to them.
    If you need any more help in verifying your family ancestral lines, we are here to help: Here are some numbers: 801-571-6122 Email:
    Good Luck!

  3. My grandfather (paternal) married a Cherokee squaw in 1863; my maternal grandfather married a Choctaw squaw in 1865. That would make me 4th generation/both tribes.

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