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Explanations of Cherokee Dawes Roll Sections

Tribal leaders in the Cherokee nation day and night use the phrase "Cherokee by blood". Those such as deputy Chief Joe Grayson, CHief Chad Smith, Councilwoman Cara Cowan Watts, as well as petition proponents Fishinghawk and Ketcher constantly pointed out to the people that freedmen are not "Cherokee by blood". Councilwoman Cowan even told the people that if I were really descended from "Cherokees by blood" I must not want to retain my tribal membership as I could just use a "by blood roll number and remain in the tribe. However, none of these people really explain the term and what it means. Read on:

"Cherokee by blood" is a class of citizenship. The term was used prior to the Dawes enrollment as it was used in the Whitmire case Moses Whitmire, Trustee for the Cherokee Freedmen Vs The Cherokee nation and the United States 30 Ct Cl 138 (1895) as an identified class of citizens. The term was often interchanged with the term "Native Cherokees". Such persons originally were recognized as being descended from "Cherokee Indians" by the Cherokee government and were entitled to all lands, and benefits of being tribal members. The Dawes Commission listed members of the cherokee nation on this roll that they deemed did not fit into the classes of citizens they listed on separate rolls such as Intermarried Citizens, Freedmen, or Delaware citizens. but who was on the other rolls?

Delaware Cherokee roll: These Delaware tribal members who immigrated to the Cherokee nation, were granted Cherokee citizenship and were entitled to 160 acres of alloted land by treaty rather than the 110 given to other Cherokee citizens. Some Delaware tribal members immigrating with treaty rights were white persons as well as "Indians". The whites listed had treaty rights just as did the Delaware tribal members who were "indians". Whites such as Robert Lunday on the Delaware roll were identified as 'white" on their Dawes census card and on the Delaware Cherokee roll and not given blood quantums by the Dawes Commission.

Freedmen section of the Dawes Roll - ALL of these people had a guaranteed treaty right to CHerokee citizenship under the 1866 treaty. Review of the documetation prepared by the DAwes Commission for each tribal member (census cards, testimonys, etc) given a freedmen roll number shows that this was never meant to be a roll of persons with no Indian ancestry. The person enrolled could have a right to citizenship under other treaties such as the Shawnee treaty (for example Solomon Baldrige) or could have been recognized as a citizen prior to 1866 as a 'native Cherokee" Indian by the tribes standards (such as Perry Ross). However, every one of these persons listed as a freedmen who was an adult got their land unrestricted in 1904 by Act of Congress. Also, spouses of freedmen did not get allotments as "intermarried citizens" even if they had married prior to 1875. It was clearly in the US governments interest to have as many citizens in the freedmen class as possible to limit the number of allotments given to tribal members. None of the freedmen tribal members were given degrees of "Indian blood" by the Dawes Commission regardless of any testimonies taken by the Commission, notations of Indian ancestry on the Dawes Census card made by the Commission, or the fact that the freedmen might have been listed on the 1880 authenticated roll made by the Cherokee nation as a "native Cherokee". For purposes of the date when an allotment became unrestricted, the date of unrestriction was fixed for 1904 for a person with freedmen status whether or not the freedmen had an ancestor listed on the "Cherokee by blood" or Delaware rolls. For purposes of the date of lifting of land allotment restrictions, freedmen were not "Indians" although they might be Indians for other purposes. (Sango case)

Intermarried citizens Roll- THese were whites who had Cherokee citizenship thru their marriages to Cherokee Indians prior to 1875. They lost their rights to an allotment prior to the Dawes roll closing in 1906 if they divorced their Cherokee spouse, or if widowed, married a non CHerokee Indian. THere were about 284 such persons listed on the Dawes rolls, none younger than 44 years of age.Their children appear on the "cherokee by blood rolls section of the DAwes rolls.

Cherokee by blood/Cherokee by blood Minor section of the Dawes Rolls:
This included adopted Natchez, adopted Creeks, Cherokee Indians, adopted Shawnees citizens, descendants of the original adopted Delaware Indians, and ALL adopted white citizens who were not "intermarried whites". These adopted whites included persons whose families had purchased citizenship (such as Clem Bennett), white persons who were Shawnee citizens and had a treaty right to citizenship (such as George Franklin), and Richard Byrd who was descended from missionary Jones who had been adopted by the Cherokee council in 1856. None of these persons had a blood quantum and were identified as "aw" by the Dawes commission for "adopted white". Several white children were listed on the "Cheorkee by blood minor roll". ALL persons listed on the Cherokee by blood roll were free to marry and divorce any person they wanted to without it affecting their right to hold an allotment. When their allotments became unrestricted depended on whether or not the person listed on the "cherokee by blood roll" was a white person, a person listed with a degree of blood less than 1/2 or a person with a higher degree of blood such as a "full blood Indian".

some things that all of the rolls had in common"
1. EACH and every person listed was a bona fide recognized citizen of the tribe regardless of what section of the roll he was listed on.

2. Every section of the Dawes rolls was subject to the Cherokee Agreement made in 1902 with the United states. This agreement required that persons dying prior to September 1 1902 be stricken from the rolls. This results in a person descended from a person listed on the freedmen roll such as Thomas Downing whose Dawes testimony and a Dawes Census card identified his deceased father William Downing as a "Cherokee by blood" not being able to present a "Cherokee by blood roll number in 2007 for their dead ancestor to the bia to obtain a cdib card. This explains how tribal leaders mislead the public when they state that freedmen are not "Cherokees by blood".
(The BIA only uses the blood quantum listed on the "by blood rolls" to issue the CDIb card).

The recently passed constitutional amendment removes all persons whose tribal enrollment is derived strictly from intermarried white or freedmen roll numbers. According to the attorney generals opinion, any person whose tribal membership is derived using any roll number on the "Cherokee by blood, cherokee by blood minor, or delaware rolls remains in the tribe. There is no requirement that the person have a blood quantum listed on the "by blood rolls" This is why the ballot was not designed to remove whites as the descendants of intermarried whites are on the "by blood rolls". It was only designed to remove descendants of Dawes enrolled freedmen - with or without documented Indian ancestry.

Marilyn Vann

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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