NC Cherokee Reservation Genealogy--Home Page

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NC Cherokee Reservation Genealogy
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In 1838, the Federal Government forced most Cherokees west into what is now Oklahoma. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians trace their descendancy from about 1,000 Cherokees who managed to elude this forced removal. About 300 of these claimed US citizenship; the rest were living in Tennessee and North Carolina towns or hiding in the mountains.

Through the 1840s, federal agents searched the mountains in attempts to remove the refugees to Oklahoma. In 1848, the US Congress agreed to recognize the NC Cherokees' rights if the state recognized them as permanent residents. In 1866, the state of North Carolina formally recognized the band, and in 1889 finally granted it a state charter. In 1925, tribal lands were finally placed into federal trust to ensure that they will forever remain in Cherokee possession.

These lands include 52 tracts which total 56,688 acres scattered across five North Carolina counties (Cherokee, Graham, Jackson, Macon & Swain). Most of this land is known as the Qualla Boundary. All lands are held in common by the Tribe, with possessory holdings issued to individuals. Reservation population is 6,311, and tribal enrollment is 10,000. Towns within the boundary include Big Cove, Birdtown, Paintown, Snowbird, Wolftown and Yellowhill.

map of Qualla Boundary (NC Cherokee Reservation) (5.31k)

Claiming Your Cherokee Heritage

Claiming your Cherokee heritage is not unlike claiming your Scots-Irish, Dutch, English, German, Italian, Flemish, etc. heritage. You do the research, find the documents, and prove your ancestry. Then you are entitled to say, "my grandparent was a Cherokee," thus claiming your heritage.

Applying for tribal membership is altogether different. Remember, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee is a nation, the same way that the U.S.A., France, Italy and Germany are nations. An application for tribal enrollment is really an application for citizenship in another nation. Consequently, the requirements are specific and quite strict.

Tribal Enrollment Information--Eastern Band
To be eligible for enrollment with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian, an applicant must:

  • be a direct lineal descendant of someone on the 1924 Baker roll

  • possess at least 1/16th degree Eastern Cherokee blood

Enrollment in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is governed by tribal ordinance #284 dated June 24, 1996 and restricts enrollment to the following:

Direct lineal ancestor must appear on the 1924 Baker Roll* of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.  Lineal descent MUST be proven with acceptable documentation!  (Note: The Baker Roll is the base roll of the Eastern Cherokee and contains the name, birth date, Eastern Cherokee Blood quantum and roll number of the base enrollees.)

Must possess at least 1/16th degree of Eastern Cherokee blood

All criteria must be met in order to be eligible with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Enrollment is CLOSED to all people who cannot meet the above requirements.

* The index to the Baker Roll may be searched at:

For further information, contact the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian Enrollment Office at (828) 497-7000, fax: (828) 497-2952, or write Eastern Band of the Cherokee, P.O. Box 455, Cherokee, NC 28719.

Tribal Enrollment Information--Western Band
To be enrolled by the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, an applicant must first prove ancestry to a person enrolled by Dawes. (Dawes Roll 1898-1914.) Additional requirements may be obtained by writing to: Cherokee Nation, Tribal Registrar, P.O. Box 948, Tahlequah, OK 74465.

About this Web Site

Web Site Maintained by:
Deanne Gibson-Roles of Franklin, NC

This site is generously hosted by:


 visitors since January 10, 1999.
Copyright © 2007-2009 by Dee Gibson-Roles. All Rights Reserved.
This page was last updated on August 12, 2009

About the North Carolina GenWeb Project

In March and April, 1996, a group of genealogists organized the Kentucky Comprehensive Genealogy Database. The idea was to provide a single entry point for all counties in Kentucky, where collected databases would be stored. In addition, the databases would be indexed and cross-linked, so that even if individuals were found in more than one county, they could be located in the index.

At the same time, volunteers were found who were willing to coordinate the collection of databases and generally oversee the contents of the web page. The NC GenWeb Project is an extension of the KY GenWeb Project. The person responsible for NC Cherokee Reservation (Qualla Boundary) is Deanne Gibson-Roles, Please contact me if you want to add your data to the database.

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