500 Nations, Tribes, Bands First People of North America Website

500 Nations, Tribes, Bands First People of North America: https://www.500nations.com/500_Tribes.asp.

A good starting place for learning more about the different tribes in the United States (U. S.) and Canada.

Tribal Enrollment Process: https://www.doi.gov/tribes/enrollment/.

What is the purpose of tribal enrollment?

Tribal enrollment requirements preserve the unique character and traditions of each tribe. The tribes establish membership criteria based on shared customs, traditions, language and tribal blood.

What are tribal membership requirements?

Tribal enrollment criteria are set forth in tribal constitutions, articles of incorporation or ordinances. The criterion varies from tribe to tribe, so uniform membership requirements do not exist.

Two common requirements for membership are lineal decendency from someone named on the tribe’s base roll or relationship to a tribal member who descended from someone named on the base roll. (A “base roll” is the original list of members as designated in a tribal constitution or other document specifying enrollment criteria.) Other conditions such as tribal blood quantum, tribal residency, or continued contact with the tribe are common.

How do I apply for enrollment in a tribe?

After you have completed your genealogical research, documented your ancestry, and determined the tribe with which your ancestor was affiliated, you are ready to contact the tribe directly to obtain the criteria for membership.

Rarely is the BIA involved in enrollment and membership. Each tribe determines whether an individual is eligible for membership. Each tribe maintains it’s own enrollment records and records about past members. To obtain information about your eligibility for membership, you must contact the tribe.

How do I Locate the Tribe I may have Indian Ancestry from?

The Tribal Leaders Directory that is published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs lists all 562 federally recognized American Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives. It also lists all the Regions, Agencies and Offices within the BIA.

The tribal membership requirements are set by each tribe with tribes tending to adopt one of three methods:

1) Blood quantum (ranging from 1/32 to 5/8),

2) being on tribal census or a list like the Dawes or Baker Rolls.

3) The last method is requiring both of the above: blood quantum and being on a tribal census or similar list.

These are the primary ways tribes determine tribal membership, but tribes may require other things in addition to whichever of the above methods a tribe uses. In one tribe, you not only need to have a relative on a specific roll, but that ancestor has to meet a certain blood quantum.

In general, the only time a tribe accepts a DNA test is when there is a question on if one or both parents may not be the parents of an individual. In those cases, DNA testing is acceptable to determine if the parents are the parents.

You could be 100% First Nationer / Native American, but fail to meet your tribe’s requirements to become a member.


About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's collaborateDealspotr.com
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