Dawes Rolls

The Dawes Rolls (or Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, or Dawes Commission of Final Rolls) were created by the Dawes Commission. The Commission, authorized by United States Congress in 1893, was required to negotiate with the Five Civilized Tribes to convince them to agree to an allotment plan and dissolution of the reservation system. One of the consequences was the creation of rolls of the members of the five tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole). The rolls were needed to assign the allotments and to provide an equitable division of all monies obtained. These rolls became known as the Dawes Rolls. The Dawes Commission was quickly flooded by applicants from all over the country trying to get on the rolls.

The Commission went to the individual tribes to obtain the membership lists but the first attempts were inadequate. Finally Congress passed the Curtis Act in 1898 which had a provision that a new roll would be taken and supersede all previous rolls.

Tribal citizens were enrolled under several categories:

  • Citizen by Blood
    • New Born Citizen by Blood
    • Minor Citizens by Blood
  • Citizen by Marriage
  • Freedmen (former black slaves of Indians)
    • New Born Freedmen
    • Minor Freedmen
  • Delaware Indians (those adopted by the Cherokee tribe were enrolled as a separate group within the Cherokee)

More than 250,000 people applied for membership, and the Dawes Commission enrolled just over 100,000. An act of Congress on April 26, 1906, closed the rolls on March 5, 1907. An additional 312 persons were enrolled under an act approved August 1, 1914.

The rolls are, for the most part, considered complete. Some Indians did not apply because of their displeasure with the allotment process and others applied but were rejected because of the residency requirements. Also, many non Indians of white ancestry applied to the Dawes Commission trying to pass themselves off as Indian but were later rejected. The reason they applied to the Dawes Rolls was because they wanted allotments. Notable among those who resisted enrollment were Muscogee Chitto Harjo (Crazy Snake), and Cherokee Redbird Smith. Both Harjo and Smith were eventually coerced into enrolling, but some full-blood hiding in the Cookson Hills never did enroll. Although some Indians chose not to enroll, many of these Indians were later enrolled by force whether they wanted to participate or not. Some of these people were arrested and forced to enroll, while other were enrolled on their behalf by people in their communities. Generally, though, to prove membership in any of the Five Civilized Tribes you must prove descent from a person listed as a citizen on the final rolls. Courts have upheld this rule even when it has been proven that a brother or sister of an ancestor was listed on the rolls but not the direct ancestor himself/herself.

The Rolls remain important today as several tribes use descent from Dawes Roll members as a requirement for tribal membership and the federal government uses them in determining status for Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood.

Other articles related to "dawes rolls, dawes, rolls, dawes roll, roll":

Blood Quantum Laws - Origin of Blood Quantum Law
... documented lineal descent from a Native American member listed on the Dawes Rolls, or an early 20th century census ... Nation's 2007 vote to exclude those Cherokee Freedmen with no ancestors on the Cherokee-by-blood Dawes rolls, although the Cherokee Supreme Court ruled ... The freedmen were listed separately on the Dawes Rolls and suffered segregation in Oklahoma ...
Black Indians In The United States - History - Native American Freedmen
... allotments to tribal members under the Dawes Act ... voters to be descended from Cherokee on the Dawes Rolls, then requiring members to be descended from Cherokee on the same rolls ... They also removed the Delaware from the tribal rolls, except for those who had a Cherokee ancestor on the Dawes Roll ...
Cherokee Freedmen Controversy - History - Activism of The 1940s–2000s
... more than 100 descendants of freedmen from the Wallace Roll, Kern-Clifton Roll, and the Dawes Rolls formed the Cherokee Freedmen's Association ... On one hand, the Dawes Rolls, a federally mandated tally, was accepted as defining who were legally and politically Cherokee and most of the CFA members were not of Dawes Rolls descent ... citizenship because her ancestors on the Dawes Commission Rolls were listed only on the Freedmen Roll ...
Cherokee Freedmen Controversy - History - Tribal Rolls
... Wallace was commissioned to create a roll, now known as the Wallace Roll, to aid in the per-capita distribution of federal money ... The Wallace Roll included 3,524 Freedmen ... It commissioned the Kern-Clifton roll, completed in 1896, as a record of 5,600 freedmen to receive a portion of the land sale funds in the following decade as ...

Famous quotes containing the word rolls:

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