In the early part of this century, there were many economical reasons for leaving your Native ancestry unclaimed. A "guardian" was assigned to full-bloods to help them in managing affairs. More often than not, the "guardian" benefited more than the Indian. Women were discouraged from registering by their Anglo husbands, especially if they were living outside the Indian Territory. Voting was a privilege denied Native Americans and women until 1924. The reasons can be as different as the phases of the moon, yet all had merit to that person at that time in history.
In 1976, Cherokee voters ratified a new Cherokee Constitution which changed the ways of measuring tribal membership. At that time, it was determined that anyone who could trace direct descent from the Dawes Rolls, a census taken between 1902-1907, could become a registered citizen of the Cherokee Nation. There are now over 165,000 registered Cherokee citizens.
It doesn't matter if you are rediscovering your ancestry, or fulfilling a long-time wish of "getting registered". It does matter that you are doing it now. It is a pivotal time in our lifetime for Native Americans, and it is very important to make a "voice." The first step is tracing your lineage. I have compiled information here to help you get started. You will need access to a genealogy library. Some church libraries also have these records. I hope you find this information useful. Please pass it along to those others you may know who are also finding their path.
b. If no, are they on the "Intruder" lists? (7RA-53 and 7RA-55)
2. If no, check the 1896 Old Settler Payment Roll (T-985)
3. Then use the information on enrollment card to search earlier rolls such as 1896 Census (7RA-19) and 1880 Census (7RA-07)
4. Then check M-1301 for enrollment packet.
5. Is this a direct ancestor?
6. If yes, you are eligible for registration:
II. Did your ancestor reside in the North Carolina/Tennessee area?
2. If no, are they on the "Intruder" lists? (7RA-53 and 7RA-55)
b. If no, check the 1896 Old Settler Payment Roll (T-985)