Tag Archives: Dawes Rolls

Native + Native ≠ Native?

How is it possible for the offspring of two native Americans to be anything but native American?

During the time Dawes Rolls were instituted, Blood Quantum laws were being used to determine who was native enough to be included in one of the Five Civilized Tribes.  Some natives were excluded because they didn’t have enough blood of one tribe to be included on their registry.  As crazy as this may sound, those who were mixed with several different tribes were only allowed to enroll in one tribe.  So, instead of adding up their blood quantum to be included, they could only claim the portion for the tribe they chose.

For example, if someone had 100% native blood, but from four different tribes, they could only claim 1/4 blood from one of the tribes.  If that tribe required 1/2 degree blood quantum, then the native was excluded.  As with the One-Drop Rule, these laws excluded many natives from tribal affiliation, thereby stripping them of their heritage and rights.

Know Better:
Blood Quantum Laws – wikipedia.org
Who is More Choctaw Than Another – freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Do Better:
Know that these laws I’ve been blogging about were put into place for a reason.  That reason was to take away the identity of the coppered-colored races of people the Europeans found here.  Taking away the identity made it easier for them to take over the land.  It is imperative for you to research your ancestry so you’ll know who you are.

So, Who’s on the Reservations?

I can’t tell you who’s on the reservations today, but I have a pretty good idea why many of them are not copper-colored.

In order to claim Native American status in the United States, one must be a member of a federally recognized tribe.  Federally recognized tribes only accept people who can prove lineage from someone listed on the Dawes Rolls (taken between 1898-1906).  These rolls were taken after the Dawes Act and were considered the final rolls of the five civilized tribes.

The problem with the Dawes Rolls is that it doesn’t include those who decided not to leave their land east of the Mississippi River during the Trail of Tears, it doesn’t include those who refused to be listed on the rolls, and it doesn’t include those who didn’t meet their criteria.  It does, however, include Europeans who intermarried with native Americans as they were being “civilized” by the Europeans.

Know Better:
Dawes Commission Enrollment Records for Five U.S. Indian Tribes – familysearch.org
Beginning of the End of Copper-Colored Natives – previous post on the Trail of Tears
Give Them an Inch and They’ll Take a Mile – previous post on the Dawes Act

Do Better:
There’s a high probability you may not be able to claim Native American status in the United States based on their requirements, but that should not stop you from researching your ancestry to find out who you are.  Once you know for yourself, no one will ever be able to take that away from you (again).  Share what you learn with your family so they’ll know as well.