"Native" Americans and African Relationships

Many of African Americans can lay a claim to having a relative belonging to one of the Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole Nations.

What few realize is that Natives didn't just cohabit along the creeks and rivers with Africans, they also owned African slaves until the Treaty of 1866 abolished these practices within these nations. Much like the white slave owners, Natives also fathered children with enslaved African women.

Under the Act of 1896, the individuals of these civilized tribes could apply for U.S. citizenship. While there was objection and concern amongst each tribe, many wanted their lineage recorded in the Dawes Index which spans between 1889 and 1914.

If your relatives applied for citizenship between 1889 and 1914, the application will provide the applicant name, enrollment number, age, sex, degree of Indian Blood, relationship to head of family, parent's names and references to enrollment on earlier Rolls (used by the commission for verification of eligibility). There are often references to enrollment cards of relatives, and notations about births, deaths, changes in marital status and actions taken by the Commission and the Secretary of the Interior.

The enrollment card numbers DO NOT match the Roll numbers. The Dawes Index provides the Roll number for each person. The actual applications may contain information which is not on the *Census card. You should examine both the Census Card and the Application.

* Several census counts were taken between 1866 and 1907, specifically of the African Native people in Indian Territory