In 1896 a Congressional law was passed that gave the Dawes Commission authority to oversee applications for tribal citizenship into the Five Civilized Tribes – Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. This database contains the applications for enrollment into these tribes from the Muskogee, Oklahoma area office. There are no records from the Seminole tribe because they made a separate arrangement with the Dawes Commission and bypassed the application process.
Individuals applying for tribal citizenship included:
- Indians by blood
- Spouses of Indians
- Freedmen who were former members of the Five Civilized Tribes
Application files can include documents such as affidavits, depositions, letters, memorials, objections, lists of evidence, receipts for service of papers, notices of appeal, and references to case numbers. Some files contain further documents and background information that may provide more detail on the applicant’s life.
Each application received an application number. The applications are organized numerically. Applications from Chickasaw and Choctaw freedmen were filed separately from the applications for the rest of these two tribes.
How to Search This Database:
The first microfilm roll of this collection contains an index to all of the application files. The names in this index have been transcribed and can be searched on using the search template above. The index images may also be browsed by clicking on “Roll 01 – Master Index” in the browse table below.
There are several steps involved in locating an individual in this collection. The easiest way is to first locate an individual in the index. Note the applicant’s name, tribe name, and application number. Once you have this information, use it to locate the appropriate application images through the browse table by selecting a tribe followed by an application number range. You will then need to page through the images by using the “Next” button in the image viewer, until you get to the application number in which you’re looking for.
On the very last roll of microfilm (Roll 54, there are some miscellaneous files and applications that were received past the application deadline. These records are not included in the Master Index, so if you do not find a particular individual in the Master Index, be sure to search through these miscellaneous records.
Some of the above information was taken from the Descriptive Pamphlet of National Archives Microfilm Publication M1650, National Archives, Washington, D.C. Please consult this pamphlet for a more detailed description and history of these records.