Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S., Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data:

Applications for Enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898–1914. Microfilm M1301, 468 rolls. NAI: 617283. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.

About U.S., Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914

This collection includes enrollment applications of members of the Five Civilized tribes in what was Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. The applications are primarily from the years 1898–1906, although some were added in 1914. Application packets vary in size and scope but typically include an affidavit from the applicant and supporting documentation that proved his or her eligibility for tribal membership.

The packets are arranged by tribe and status (member by blood, marriage, freedmen, minors, etc.). Applicants who had blended backgrounds typically chose tribal affiliation based on the heritage of the mother.

Historical Background
The General Allotment Act, or Dawes Act, in 1887 parceled out formerly communal tribal lands and allotted them to individual tribal members. Initially members of the Five Civilized Tribes—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muskogee), and Seminole Tribes—were excluded from the act. In 1893, the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, chaired by Henry Dawes, was established to convince the leaders of the Five Civilized Tribes to accept allotment. The Dawes Commission began accepting applications for tribal citizenship, or enrollment, in 1896, but with the enactment of the Curtis Act in 1898, these enrollments were declared invalid and new enrollments began in 1898.

More than 300,000 applications for enrollment were received, and nearly two-thirds of them were denied. This collection includes enrollees who were found eligible for allotted land. If approved, the applicant would receive 160 acres for farming, 80 acres for cattle raising, or 40 acres to live on, and at the end of the allotment process, the recipient became a U.S. citizen.

The allotment greatly diminished Native American landholdings because following the allotment, lands left over were sold off. In addition, many members of the Five Civilized Tribes who received lands were forced to sell because they couldn’t make a go of it due to poor-quality land and/or a lack of resources.

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