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Cherokee Genealogy and History

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The goal of this project is to develop accurate and documented genealogical and historical knowledge of the Cherokee, indigenous peoples of North America.

Who are the Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ)?


The Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ) are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States (principally Georgia, the Carolinas and Eastern Tennessee). Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian-language family. In the 19th century, historians and ethnographers recorded their oral tradition that told of the tribe having migrated south in ancient times from the Great Lakes region, where other Iroquoian-speaking peoples were located.

The Seven Clans of the Cherokee are;

  1. ᎠᏂᏩᏯ aniwaya (Wolf Clan or Panther representing war)
  2. ᎠᏂᏥᏍᏆ anitsisgwa (Small Bird Clan or Eagle representing spirit)
  3. ᎠᏂᎧᏫ anikawi (Deer Clan or Bison representing peace)
  4. ᎠᏂᎩᎶᎯ anigilohi (Twister Clan or "Long Hair" representing day and night)
  5. ᎠᏂᏌᎰᏂ anisahoni (Blue Clan or Blue Holly representing Sky)
  6. ᎠᏂᎪᏓᎨᏫ anigodagewi (Wild Potato Clan or Tobacco representing flesh)
  7. ᎠᏂᏬᏗ aniwodi (Red Paint Clan representing death)

In the 19th century, white settlers in the United States called the Cherokees one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" because they had assimilated numerous cultural and technological practices of European-American settlers. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the Cherokee Nation has more than 300,000 members, the largest of the 563 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.

Of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians have headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. They were forcibly relocated there in the 1830s. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is located in Cherokee, North Carolina.

All of the treaties between the Cherokee and the United States, as well as individual states, are documented here:

Building and Maintaining a Well-Documented and Authenticated Cherokee Tree on Geni

This project's new focus, as of April 2018, will be to clean up the inaccuracies in the Cherokee branches of the Geni family tree and to maintain the most accurate genealogical model of Cherokee ancestry that exists online. We will defer to the knowledge of tribal genealogists and experts since tribes have invested a great deal of energy and resources into maintaining accurate family trees in order to maintain tribal membership rolls. While many people may have some degree of Cherokee blood quantum, only those who meet the tribes' criteria for membership are considered to be tribal members. See Tribal Citizenship with the Cherokee Nation and Enrollment for Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Internet family trees are rife with misinformed and inaccurate family trees for Cherokee ancestors, particularly in the 1700s and early 1800s before Cherokee became a written language when records began to be kept. A team of Cherokee genealogical experts and Geni curators will be actively seeking to correct inaccuracies in the Geni tree. If you become disconnected from people you believed to be your ancestors because you found the information online or in amateur books self-published about Native genealogy (such as Don Greene's Shawnee Heritage series), please realize that we are doing you a favor by providing you with the most well-researched, accurate information at this time and eliminating ancestries that have been debunked (disproven). In accordance with Geni guidelines it must be restated that tertiary sources should serve as a source for leads only, not a source of evidence.

Please read the following essay by Kathryn Forbes, a citizen of Cherokee Nation and a member of our research team.

So, will the real Amatoya Moytoy please stand up?

by Kathryn Forbes, November 2017

Who was the man (or men) known as “Moytoy”? To answer this question, we first need to know something about Cherokee customs, to determine when records of individual Cherokee people begin, and to know what is included in those records. Not only do many people believe they have a Cherokee great-grandmother or a Cherokee princess in their family, they also believe they can trace their Cherokee ancestors back to the 16th century. Tree after on-line tree starts with the mythical Thomas Pasmere Carpenter [debunked at and ], which most people with any understanding of the genealogical proof standard can easily recognize as junk genealogy. Many more start with “The Descendants of A ma do ya Moytoy,” an on-line tree which to many people appears to be authoritative, accurate, and documented. Sadly, it is none of these.

Let’s start with a little history
. Families and communities. The Cherokee, along with most indigenous people, were matrilineal. During the 1600’s and 1700’s they lived in about 60 small agricultural communities spread over some 200 miles, each largely independent from its’ neighbors. Each community had its’ own head man (or chief) and other leaders, who were chosen by the community, not by descent. There was no central government. Clan relationships determined a person’s behaviors. Families were made up of women and other members of their clans. Women could not marry a person of their own clan, so in the Cherokee culture the biological father was not a blood relative. The men responsible for bringing up a boy were his mother’s brothers, and if she didn’t have brothers, other men of her clan who lived in her village. While some couples had long-lasting marriages, marriage as we know it was not a Cherokee concept. A couple stayed together only as long as both were happy with the arrangement, and both men and women had children with multiple partners.

Cherokee names. With the exception of clothing and some household goods, everything was owned in common. There was no concept of inheritance or decendancy. Cherokee people did not have ‘surnames’, family names, or even given names as we know them. A Cherokee person’s name could – and did – change over a lifetime and a Cherokee person might be known by multiple names at the same time. A person’s true name was known only to close family/clan members. A childhood name would be replaced by an adult name, usually associated with a significant event in the person’s life. A later event or a bout of illness often resulted in a new name. Men (and some women) might be known by a title based on their position in the village – i.e. ‘Raven’, ‘Mankiller’, or ‘Beloved Woman’. People had names used only at home, nicknames given by others, and English translations of their Cherokee names and titles. Starting in the middle of the 18th century, some mixed-blood Cherokee added the name of their biological white father to the mix and others adopted (or were given) the name of an admired white person. Missionaries gave people new names when they were baptized. The names we associate with early Cherokee people were recorded by whites who sometimes attempted to write them phonetically, sometimes wrote what they believed was an English translation of the name, and sometimes wrote down a title as a name. There was no standardized spelling at this time, even for English names and words, and Cherokee men often appear in a single record with different spellings of a name.

Recordkeeping prior to the 1800’s. The Cherokee did not have a written language until 1821. Before then, everything written about the Cherokee was filtered through the eyes and ears of white people, very few of whom spoke or even understood the Cherokee language. Records of the Cherokee prior to 1800 consist solely of the journals, correspondence, and memoirs of white men, and the treaties and recorded actions of colonial and early American legislative bodies. There are no birth, marriage, death, church, or family Bible records. The only censuses taken in the 18th century were simple headcounts done by village. There are occasional rare statements by a Cherokee person included in historical records which mention a family relationship, but there are limited historical records before 1750. The first whites to take an interest in Cherokees as families were the missionaries who arrived late in the 1790’s.

So, back to “Chief Moytoy.” The ‘Am-a-do-ya Moytoy’ tree starts with a man named Amadoya Moytoy, born sbout 1647. He is listed with a wife and five children. Looks good, except here’s the catch: Plain and simple, there is no mention in any record of a Cherokee person named or called, “Moytoy” or anything similar, until 1729. As noted above, there aren’t many early records which mention any Cherokee by name, and ‘Moytoy’ doesn’t exist in the ones that do. Not in the account of Needham and Arthur (1674), the first English men to travel to the Cherokee Nation and return to tell about it. Not in the 1684 Treaty with Virginia. Not in the Colonial Records of South Carolina, 1710-1718. Not in the journals of trade commissioner George Chicken’s travels among the Cherokee (1715-16 and 1725). Not in the records associated with the Cherokee treaty and trade agreement with South Carolina of 1721 (which resulted in the naming of a chief named Wrosetasataw as ‘Emperor’ of the Cherokee). Not in the journal of John Herbert (1727-28), South Carolina Commissioner for Indian Affairs. Not in the correspondence of Ludovic Grant, who settled among the Cherokee about 1727.

The first contemporaneous mention of Moytoy is in the “Journal of Sir Alexander Cuming” who travelled in the Cherokee Nation in 1729-30. Cuming wrote on March 29, 1729, “… arrived at Great Telliquo, in the upper Settlements, 200 miles up from Keeakwee. Moytoy the head Warrior here, told him, that the Year before, the Nation design’d to have made him Head over all;” Cuming wrote later, “Moytoy of Telliquo presides at present as Emperor over the whole; he was chose at Nequassie, April 3, 1730, and had an absolute unlimited Power given him…” Cuming hoped to take Moytoy and some other Cherokee back to England with him to demonstrate their loyalty to the English King: “He ask’d Moytoy, if the Indians could travel there [to Charleston]in so short a Time on Foot, who told him that it might be done, and that he [Moytoy] would have waited on him himself, but that his Wife was dangerously ill, and therefore desired Sir Alexander to chuse whom he pleased to attend him.” Attakullakulla, one of the seven Cherokee who went to England with Cuming later recounted the events to the South Carolina Governor (through a translator). “At night Mr Wiggan the Interpreter came to the house where I was, and told me the Warrior {Moytoy] had a particular favour for me, and that if I would Consent to go he would be indifferent whither any other Went; and Mr. Wiggan pressed me very much to accept of his invitation.”

Cuming’s account of the selection of the travelers says, “Sir Alexander chose as Evidence of the Truth of what had happened, the head Warrior of Tassetchee, a Man of great Power and Interest, who has a Right to be King, and is called Oukah Ulah (that is the King that is to be) Skallelockee, the second Warrior, otherwise Kettagustah, (or Prince) Tathtowie, the third Warrior, and Collannah, a fourth Warrior; and from Tannassie, the remotest Town of the Country, he took Clogoittah and Oukanaekah [later known as Attakullakulla] Warriors.” The seventh man met them en route to Charleston and joined the group. There is nothing to suggest in any of these accounts that the men selected were related in any way.

James Adair wrote that he came to the Cherokee in 1736. He did not mention Moytoy by name, but as “their old Archi-magus,” made emperor by Christian Priber. Grant wrote in regard to the English attempt to arrest Christian Priber, “I therefore endeavored to prevail with Moytoy who was then the head of the Nation to Give Orders to some of his people to seize him [Priber] and I promised him a very great present for it. He thanked me and said he would accept of the present…”

Several modern histories suggest [without sources] that Moytoy’s name was actually “Ama-edohi” [Conley, A Cherokee Encyclopedia[ or “Amo-adaw-ehi” [Brown, Old Frontiers], meaning variously “Water-goer,” “Water-walker,” “Water-conjouror,” or “Rainmaker”.

As to Moytoy’s family, we know from his own words that he had a wife, and from other records, at least one son. We are told that Moytoy died in battle in 1741, and “At Moytoy’s death, his son Amo-Scossite (Bad Water) claimed his father’s title.” [Brown, Old Frontiers, p.46] Although the Cherokee refused to accept Amoscossite as ‘Emperor’, he became chief at Tellico and headed delegations including a meeting with Virginia trade representatives in 1756. He is believed to have died shortly thereafter, leaving no known descendants. What about those children in the second generation of the ‘A-ma-do-ya’ tree? One of them is the ‘real’ Moytoy, who died in 1741. Two of them, Tistoe and Oukah-Oula were among the seven men who went to England with Cuming. As noted above, there is nothing to suggest that they were related in any way. They came from different towns and in none of the contemporary records are they listed as brothers, cousins, or relatives of any kind. The fourth person listed is supposedly the mother of Nan-ye-hi, Nancy Ward. Nancy’s parents are completely unknown. All that we know about her parents is that her mother was from the Wolf Clan, and, according to a great-grandson, her father may have been an adopted Delaware Indian. The last person, ‘Old Hop’ (who lived at Chota) was a prominent Cherokee chief, a contemporary of the ‘real’ Moytoy. Records show that he became de facto head of the Cherokee Nation after the death of Moytoy and a political struggle with the chiefs of Tellico. Nothing is known of his parents or his wife, but he apparently had sisters since he stated that he had two nephews, Attakullakulla and Willenawa. He also remarked that he had sons, whose names are unknown.

Transcripts of primary sources

  • Adair, James. The History of the American Indians. London, 1775; reprint with introduction by Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr. Johnson, New York: Reprint Corp, 1968.
  • Alvord, Clarence Waltworth, and Lee Bidgood. The First Explorations of the Trans-Allegheny Region by the Virginians, 1650-1674. Cleveland, Arthur H. Clark, 1912. Includes transcripts of early accounts.
  • Bartram, William. Travels in North America. New Haven, Yale University Press
  • Bonnefoy, Antoine. Journal. Transcript in Williams; Bonnefoy was a captive of the Cherokee in 1741-42.
  • Chicken, George. Journals 1715-1716 and 1725
  • Cuming, Alexander. Journal of Sir Alexander Cuming. Transcript in Williams.
  • Grant, Ludovic. Historical Relation of the Facts. 1755. Transcript included in the “Journal of Cherokee Studies” Vol. XXVI, pp. 2-23.
  • Herbert, John. Journal of Colonel John Herbert, commissioner Indian affairs for the province of South Carolina, October 17, 1727, to March 1727/8
  • Timberlake, Henry The Memoirs of Lt. Henry Timberlake. Duane King, ed. Museum of the Cherokee Indian Press, Cherokee, N.C., 2007
  • Williams, Samuel Cole. Early Travels in the Tennessee Country, 1580-1800 Johnson City, Tennessee, Watauga Press, 1928
  • Calendar of Virginia State Papers
  • Colonial Records of North Carolina – multiple volumes published by the North Carolina Archives.
  • Native Americans in Early North Carolina – ed. Dennis Isenbarger, published by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Department of Archives and History, 2013. Includes transcripts of primary documents from the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Villainy Often Goes Unpunished – Indian Records from the North Carolina General Assembly Sessions 1685-1789. William L. Byrd, III, Heritage Books 2012. Transcripts of General Assembly records.
  • Colonial Records of South Carolina – multiple volumes published by the South Carolina Archives. Series 2 are the Indian Papers.
  • "American State Papers" - two volumes of Indian records

Other references

  • Brown, John P. Old Frontiers. Southern Publishers, Inc. Kingsport, TN 1938
  • Conley, Robert. A Cherokee Encyclopedia and The Cherokee Nation: a History. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 2007 [Note: Conley’s books are easier to read than the more scholarly texts listed, but also are not as well-researched and contain more factual errors.]
  • Hoig, Stanley. The Cherokees and their Chiefs. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville 1998
  • Mooney, James. History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee. American Bureau of Ethnology 1891 & 1900, reprint Historical Images, Inc. Asheville, N.C. 1992

Additional Sources

The Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory, published by the United States Commission to the Five Tribes. Originally published in 1907, lists names of all Native Americans identified as of 1902 as members of the Five Tribes.

Rolls, Applications and Indian Census Records

NOTE: When searching Cherokee rolls and census records, please be aware that spellings of Indian names as transcribed by white administrators vary tremendously from instance to instance. For that reason, a search may not turn up your ancestor if you do not spell the name exactly as it is listed in the document. We recommend browsing the lists, which takes more time but may bring better results.'s American Indian Records (all databases, searchable). is a subscription site with a rich collection of databases useful for genealogical and historical research. This is their entire collection of databases. Various individual databases are listed below, many of which are available through A number of these databases are available on other sites as well, some of them free. An online search for a particular database is recommended if you are hoping to gain free access.

Cherokee Heritage Documentation Center is also another site which provides links to various rolls.

Trail of Tears Roll ~ 1835 History Cherokee Indians This is actually a report from the Secretary of War, in compliance with resolutions of the Senate, statements showing the persons employed, the funds furnished, and the improvements valued under the Cherokee Treaty of December 1835. aka Henderson Roll – Cherokee Census of 1835, which is a listing of 16,000 Cherokees living in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, & North Carolina to be removed to Oklahoma, per Treaty of New Echota.
Trail of Tears Roll

Cherokee census of Tennessee; Cherokee census of 1835 of Lookout Valley Tenn; ; Cherokee muster roll for Indians who have emigrated west of Mississippi (1834); Cherokee muster roll 1837; Muster roll of B. F. Curry in 1838; Cherokee muster roll to September 1838; Muster roll of Lt. Deas. Cherokees who arrived west 1st May 1838.

  • Georgia Cherokee Land Lottery, 1832. This database is a listing of persons allotted land in 1832 from what was considered ""Cherokee Land."" Located in the northeastern part of the state, over 18,500 parcels were distributed by lottery in that year. Each record of this collection contains the individual's name, residence, and county. Additionally, it provides the district and section number of the parcel of land.

Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Marriage, Citizenship and Census Records, 1841-1927 This collection contains various American Indian records held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. Among the tribes and nations included in the records are Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Kiowa, Quapaw, Sac and Fox, Arapaho, Shawnee, and Cheyenne. Records include marriage licenses, certificates, marriage cards, affidavits, census, citizenship, and enrollment records.

Chapman Roll ~ 1851 History Cherokee Indians Prepared by Albert Chapman as a listing of those Cherokee actually receiving payment based on the Siler Census. Chapman Roll of Eastern Cherokee (1851)

Old Settler Roll ~ 1851 History Cherokee Indians A listing of Cherokee, still living in 1851, who were already residing in Oklahoma when the main body of the Cherokee arrived in the winter of 1839, as a result of the Treaty of New Echota.

Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959. Search or browse through a variety of tribal rolls, censuses, and other Bureau of Indian Affairs records relating to 16 different tribes.

Siler Roll ~ 1852 History Cherokee Indians A listing of those Eastern Cherokee entitled to a per capita payment pursuant to an act of Congress in 1850.

U.S., Schedules of Special Census of Indians, 1880." A special census of these Native Americans "not taxed" (living on reservations) was taken in 1880. Here’s who was counted.

1883 Hester Roll of Eastern Cherokees in included in this database.

U.S., Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940. This database contains an index to the Indian census rolls from 1885-1940. Information contained in this database includes: name (Indian and/or English), gender, age, birth date, relationship to head of family, marital status, tribe name, agency name, and reservation name.

Dawes Rolls 1889-1906 ~ Amended 1914 ~ By an Act of Congress, March 3, 1893, a commission was appointed to negotiate with the Five Tribes for the extinguishments of their tribal title to lands by allotment, and division of the same among the members of the tribes. This commission to the Five Civilized Tribes became known as the Dawes Commission, after Senator Henry L. Dawes, who was largely responsible for the legislation that brought it into being. their main task was to make an equitable division of nearly twenty million acres of land among more that 100,000 Indians. Several years of negotiation and pressure on the Indians were required to secure their assent to this proposal. Surveys and allotments were made to permit each Indian or Freedman to include their improvements in the allotment. ~ Dawes is a list of those members of the Five Civilized Tribes who were removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) during the 1800's. Dawes Roll

  • By blood
  • By marriage
  • Newborns, by blood
  • Minors, by blood
  • Freedmen (former black slaves of Indians)
  • Newborn freedmen
  • Minor freedmen
  • Delaware Indians adopted into the Cherokee tribe
  • Dawes Commission Index (overturned), 1896--these are the applicants whose claims were rejected. from This is an index to over 14,000 records of individuals in the Five Civilized Tribes that applied for citizenship under the Act of 1896. The Five Civilized Tribes include the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and the Seminole. Each record includes the individual's name tribe, and case number. This compilation, in effect an Indian census, was also used as the basis for the allotment of tribal lands to individual Indians.
  • U.S., Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes (overturned), 1896. This database contains applications for enrollment into the Five Civilized Tribes - Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole, from the Muskogee, Oklahoma area office. Application files may 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.

Wallace Roll ~ 1890 History Cherokee Freedmen Of Cherokee Freedmen in Indian Territory of Cherokee freedmen created by Special Agent John W. Wallace. Individuals on the schedule were entitled to share with the Shawnee and Delaware in the per capita distribution of $75,000, appropriated by Congress in October 1888, and issued under the supervision of his office.

  • U.S., Wallace Roll of Cherokee Freedmen, 1890-1893. Transcriptions of the Wallace Report of Cherokee Freedmen compiled between 1890 and 1893. In accordance with an 1866 treaty, in 1888 the Congress of the United States appropriated $75,000 to be shared between the Cherokee, Shawnee and Delaware Indian tribes. This database is a transcription of the Wallace Roll of Cherokee Freedmen intended to identify those Cherokee entitled to a share of this money. Compiled by Special Agent John Wallace, it includes authenticated freedmen, admitted freedmen, those who died between 1883 and 1890, and "Free Negroes" associated with the tribe. Researchers will find information on over 3800 Cherokee including age, sex, and residence. For researchers of Cherokee ancestors, this can be an important source of helpful information. The Wallace roll was set aside as "fraudulent" by a decree of 8 May 1895 of the United States Court of Indian Affairs.

Kern Clifton Roll ~ 1897 History Cherokee Freedmen Census of the Freedmen and their descendants of the Cherokee Nation taken by the Commission appointed in the case of Moses Whitmire, Trustee of the Freedmen of the Cherokee Nation versus the Cherokee Nation and the United States in the Court of Claims at Washington, DC; The Kern Clifton Roll came about due to the Cherokee Nation disputing the number of freedmen included in the Wallace Roll... yet the Kern Clifton Roll actually increased the number of people eligible for payment.

North Carolina, Native American Census Selected Tribes, 1894-1913. Census books enumerating Cherokee Indians living in communities and counties on the Cherokee or Qualla Reservations in western North Carolina are in this database. These include Big Cove, Yellow Hill, Birdtown, Nantahala, Soco, and Wolf Town representing counties Cherokee, Jackson, Swain, and Graham. Information included in the database is name, gender, age, birth date, tribe, marital status, etc. Later censuses in the collection contain more information pertaining to the individual.

U.S., Native American Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914. This database contains the Native American citizenship enrollment cards, sometimes referred to as census cards, that were prepared by the Dawes Commission. These enrollment cards apply to the Five Civilized Tribes - the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. This database also contains the Final Rolls, or lists of individuals approved by the Commission for citizenship, as well as an Index to the Final Rolls.

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.

Guion-Miller Roll ~ includes the names of all persons applying for compensation arising from the judgment of the United States Court of Claims on May 28, 1906, for the Eastern Cherokee tribe. While numerous individuals applied, not all the claims were allowed. The information included on the index is the application number, the name of the applicant, and the State or Territory in which the individual resided at the time the application was filed. The name being there does not mean the person was admitted

  • U.S., Records Related to Enrollment of Eastern Cherokee by Guion Miller, 1908-1910. In certifying the eligibility of the Cherokees, Miller used earlier census lists and rolls that hadcompiledmplied by Hester, Chapman, Drennen, and others between 1835 and 1884. Copies of some of these rolls and the indexes to them are filed with the Guion Miller records and are part of this publication. There are an estimated 90,000 individual applicants from throughout North America included within this publication. Applications typically include the applicant’s name, Indian name, residence, date and place of birth, marriage status, and name of spouse. Also included are the names of siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents, further establishing family relationships vital to affirming tribal connections.

1924 Baker Roll ~ 1924 History Cherokee Indians This was supposed to be the final roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The land was to be allotted and all were to become regular citizens of the United States. Fortunately, the Eastern Band of Cherokee avoided the termination procedures, unlike their brothers of the western nation. The Baker Roll "Revised" is the current membership roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina.

  • U.S., Cherokee Baker Roll and Records, 1924-1929. The Baker Roll of 1924–1928 was the final roll for determining membership in the Eastern Band of North Carolina Cherokee, but it’s only one of the documents you’ll find in this rich collection.

Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian and Pioneer Historical Collection, 1937. These seem to be life stories, interviews, and oral histories done by WPA (Works Progress Administration) interviewers in 1937. Well worth a browse!

Cherokee Names

Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ) Principal Chiefs and Uka: Eastern, Western and Keetoowah

Cherokee Home Guard during Civil War

Cherokee Delegations to England 18th century

Indian Traders in the Southeastern U.S., 1750-54


The "Cherokee Princess" Syndrome

"During my three years as Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians, it was a rare day when some white didn't visit my office and proudly proclaim that he or she was of Indian descent.

Cherokee was the most popular tribe of their choice and many people placed the Cherokees anywhere from Maine to Washington State. Mohawk, Sioux, and Chippewa were next in popularity. Occasionally, I would be told about some mythical tribe from lower Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Massachusetts which had spawned the white standing before me.

At times I became quite defensive about being a Sioux when these white people had a pedigree that was so much more respectable than mine. But eventually, I came to understand their need to identify as partially Indian and did not resent them. I would confirm their wildest stories about their Indian ancestry and would add a few tales of my own hoping that they would be able to accept themselves someday and leave us alone.

Whites claiming Indian blood generally tend to reinforce mythical beliefs about Indians. All but one person I met who claimed Indian blood claimed it on their grandmother's side. I once did a projection backward and discovered that evidently, most tribes were entirely female for the first three hundred years of white occupation. No one, it seemed, wanted to claim a male Indian as a forebear.

It doesn't take much insight into racial attitudes to understand the real meaning of the Indian grandmother complex that plagues certain
whites. A male ancestor has too much of the aura of the savage warrior, the unknown primitive, the instinctive animal, to make him a respectable member of the family tree. But a young Indian princess? Ah, there was royalty for the taking. Somehow the white was linked with a noble house of gentility and culture if his grandmother was an Indian princess who ran away with an intrepid pioneer. And royalty has always been an unconscious but all-consuming goal of the European immigrant.

The early colonists, accustomed to life under benevolent despots, projected their understanding of the European political structure onto the Indian tribe in trying to explain its political and social structure. European royal houses were closed to ex-convicts and indentured servants, so the colonists made all Indian maidens princesses, then proceeded to climb a social ladder of their own creation. Within the next generation, if the trend continues, a large portion of the American population will eventually be related to Powhatan.

While a real Indian grandmother is probably the nicest thing that could happen to a child, why is a remote Indian princess grandmother so necessary for many whites? Is it because they are afraid of being classed as foreigners? Do they need some blood tie with the frontier and its dangers in order to experience what it means to be an American? Or is it an attempt to avoid facing the guilt they bear for the treatment of the Indian?

The phenomenon seems to be universal. Only among the Jewish community, which has a long tribal-religious tradition of its own, does the mysterious Indian grandmother, the primeval princess, fail to dominate the family tree. Otherwise, there's not much to be gained by claiming Indian blood or publicly identifying as an Indian."

Map of the Inhabited Areas of the Upper Cherokee Nation

Drawn in 1762 and published in Memoirs of Lieut. Henry Timberlake, London 1765 (crop In)

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