The Commission to the Five Tribes

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Native American Research


This article is part of a series.

Overview of Native American Research
Finding Native American Tribe-specific Information
Finding Individual Native American Information
Records Relating to Native American Research in Oklahoma
The Commission to the Five Tribes
Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940
Muskogee Area Office
Anadarko Area Office
Florida Superintendency
Select List of Native American Tribes
List of Useful Native American Research Resources
Topics

This article originally appeared in "Native American Research" by Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGA, FIGS, and George J. Nixon in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy

Contents

Overview

The Five Civilized Tribes—the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole—were so called by the U.S. government because they were more advanced (literate) than many others and had adopted systems of government patterned after those of the United States.

An act approved by Congress on 3 March 1893 (27 Stat. L., 645) provided for the appointment of three commissioners to negotiate with the Five Civilized Tribes for the extin­guishment of the tribal title and the allotment of lands in severalty. This commission was generally known as the Dawes Commission for ex-Senator Dawes of Massachusetts, who was appointed chairman. The commission reported directly to the secretary of the interior. In 1895, the number of members was increased to five. At that time, the work of the commis­sion was limited to two fields: a change in the method of land ownership and the abolition of the tribal govern­ments. The commission experi­enced little success in these en­deavors, and on 10 June 1896 (29 Stat. L., 339), the scope of the commission’s work was enlarged by an authoriz­ation and direction to “hear and determine the application of all persons who may apply to them for citizen­ship in any of said nations,” and the commission was required to file the list of tribal members with the commis­sioner of Indian Affairs “for use as the final judgment of the duly con­stituted authori­ties.”

On 28 June 1898 (30 Stat. L., 495), a law generally known as the Curtis Act was approved. The Curtis Act is the basis of all later legislation relating to the affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes. The main features of this act were: (1) the allot­ment of land in severalty; (2) leasing of tribal lands by the secretary of the interior; (3) the incorporation of cities and towns, the survey of town sites, and the sale of town lots to the lessees at half their appraised value; (4) the prohibition of any payment to tribal govern­ments and provi­sion for making per-capita payments directly to in­dividuals; (5) provision for the payments of all rents and royalties into the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the tribe; and (6) the enlarge­ment of the power of the U.S. courts and the abolition of tribal courts.

Agreements had been made with the Choctaws and Chickasaws on 23 April 1897, with the Creeks on 27 September 1897, and with the Seminoles on 16 December 1897. The Choctaw-Chick­asaw and the Creek agreements were embodied in the Curtis Act of 1898. The agreement was confirmed on 24 August 1898, but the Creeks rejected it. The agreement with the Seminoles was ratified by Congress in the act of 1 July 1898 (30 Stat. L., 567).

A new agreement with the Creeks was made on 8 March 1900 and ratified by the act of 1 March 1901. The Cherokees were the last to accept the new conditions, but an act was ratified by the Cherokees on 7 August 1902 and proclaimed by the president on 12 August 1902.

The agreements provided for each member of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations to receive “land equal in value to 320 acres of the average allottable land,” out of which 160 acres were to be designated as a homestead, which was to be in­alienable during the life of the allottee but not beyond twenty-one years from the date of the certificate of allot­ment. Lands not included in the homestead were to be alien­able for one-fourth the acreage in one year, one-fourth in three years, and the balance in five years from the date of patent. Each freedman was to be allotted “land equal in value to forty acres of the average allottable land.”[1]

The Seminole agreement provided for the division of the land into three classes to be appraised at $5, $2.50, and $1.25 per acre, and for allotments so that each member should have an equal average of 120 acres. Each allottee was re­quired to designate a tract of forty acres, which was “made inalienable and nontaxable as a homestead in perpetuity.”[2]

In the Cherokee Nation, the allotments were to be 110 acres of the average allottable land on the basis of the appraisal to be made by the Dawes Commission. Provision was made for a homestead of forty acres, which was to be in­alien­able and nontaxable during the lifetime of the allottee but not longer than twenty-one years. In the Seminole, Creek, and Cherokee nations, the freed­men (former black slaves of Indian slaveholders) received the same allotments as the Indians by blood.

The closing of the tribal affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes involved, among other tasks, the preparation of a correct tribal roll and division of the land among the mem­bers accord­ing to the varying provisions of the separate agreements. Applications for enrollment were received from approximately 250,000 people in all parts of the United States, but the final rolls contained the names of approximately 101,000, of whom approximately one-fourth were full blooded.

The enrollment records consist of the application made for enrollment together with all of the records, evidence, and papers filed in connection with the decision of the commission­er.[3]

During the early stages of enrollment, appointments were made by the commission at various places in the different nations at which the Indians and freedmen appeared to apply for enrollment. At that time, the applicants were sworn before a notary public, but their testimony was taken orally and placed upon a card, with the exception of Cherok­ees. Written testimony was taken in all Cherokee cases. In a great majority of the early enrollments, except Cherokee cases, the only records shown are the statements personally taken from the applicants and placed on the cards, which constitute the enrollment record, together with any other evidence that may have been obtained. In a great many instances, where there was doubt as to the rights of the applicant to enrollment and the applicant could not be ident­ified from the tribal rolls, the written testimony of the applicant was taken and made a part of the record. Add­itional testimony was also taken at later dates.

After the enrollment of all citizens, by blood or inter­marriage, and freedmen, who were clearly identified upon the tribal rolls, was completed, written testimony was taken in all doubtful cases. Written testimony was also taken for all applications made for the identification of Mississippi Choctaws and in practically all other cases as the work neared completion.

The tribal rolls of the various nations came into the possession of the commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes. They were used for identification and as a basis for enroll­ment.

When the enrollments were completed, the names of all persons whom the commission had decided were entitled to enrollment were placed on the rolls. These rolls show the name, age, sex, degree of blood, and the number of the census card, generally known as the “enrollment card,” on which each citizen was enrolled. A number was placed opposite each name appearing on this roll, beginning at 1 and running consecutively until the final number was completed. This roll was made out in quintuplicate and forwarded to the secretary of the Interior for approval. The secretary returned three copies for the files of the commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes. The roll thus approved was known as the “approval roll” and was used as the basis for allot­ments, except in the cases of a large number of Creeks, to whom allotments were made before the approval of their en­rollment. These allotments were subsequently confirmed by Congress.

The enrollment records consist of: (1) the census card—the card on which the app­licant was listed for enrollment (in the early enrollment, some persons were listed on what is known as a doubtful card, and later on the names appearing on the doubtful cards were transferred to regular census cards); (2) all testimony taken in the matter of the application at various times prior to rendition of the decision granting the application; (3) birth af­fida­vits, affidavits of death, and other evidence and papers filed in connection with the application made for enrollment; and (4) the enrollment as shown on the approved roll.

Many of the records of the Dawes Commission are still in the custody of the Muskogee Area Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Others have been depos­ited with the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City. The majority of these records have been reproduced on micro­film and are available at the Oklahoma Historical Society; the National Archives records center in Fort Worth, Texas; the Univer­sity of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma; and the Family History Li­brary in Salt Lake City.[4]

General Records of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes

Most of the correspondence received prior to 1901 and copies of letters sent prior to 1906 are in the custody of the Oklahoma Historical Society. This correspondence can also be found in the records of the Indian Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior (Record Group 48) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Record Group 75).

Index to Letters Received from the Department of Interi­or, 1907–1914

This index is divided into chronological segments: 1907 to 1908, 1909 to 1910, 1911 to 1912, and 1913 to 1914. Entries are arranged alphabetically by subject and, thereunder, chronologi­cally by the date the letter was written. Informa­tion given for each letter includes the date it was written, the file number assigned, and a short summary of the subject.

Register of Letters Received from the Department of Inter­ior (“Special Index”), 1903–1914

Arranged chronologi­cally by date of receipt. Information given for each letter includes the date written, the date received, the name of the sender, the file number as­signed, and a short summary of the subject.

Letters Received from the Department of Interior (“De­partmental Letters”), 1901–1914

Arranged numerically by file number assigned chronologi­cally by date of receipt within each fiscal year. The letters relate to all phases of the comm­ission’s activities, including administra­tion, enroll­ment, allotment, the leasing and sale of allotted and un­allotted land, and the establishment of town­ sites.

Instructions Received from the Department of Interior, 1900

Carbon copies of letters received from the Department of Interior relating to enrollment and enrollment procedures, the leasing of allotted land, and the removal of non-Indians from allotted land; arranged chronologically by date of receipt and indexed by subject. Many letters transmit opin­ions of the assistant attorney general on legal issues relat­ing to enroll­ment and allotment.

Index to Letters Received, 1897–1913

The index is divided into yearly segments. Within each segment, entries are arranged alphabetically by the first two letters of the sender’s surname. Information given includes the name of the sender, the date the letter was written, the file number assigned, and a brief summary of the subject.

Registers of Letters Received, 1908–1914

Arranged chronologi­cally by date of receipt. The informa­tion given for each letter includes the name and address of the sender, the date the letter was written, the date received, the file number assigned, a brief summary of the subject, and, occ­asionally, remarks about actions taken.

Registers of Letters Received from the Union Agency, 1906–1909

Arranged chronologically by date of receipt. The informa­tion given for each letter includes the date it was written, the date received, the file number assigned, and a brief summary of the subject.

Letters Received (“General Office Letters”), 1900–1914

Original letters and telegrams received from the U.S. Indian inspector for Indian Territory, the Union Agency, other Indian agencies, field offices of the Dawes Commission, including the land offices maintained for each tribe, officials of tribal gov­ernments, and the general public. The letters relate to all phases of the commission’s activities. Arranged numerically by file number assigned chronologi­cally by date of receipt within each fiscal year.

Letters Received by Commissioner Bixby, 1897–1906

Arranged alphabetically by name of sender until 1901 and thereafter numerically by file number assigned chronological­ly by date of receipt. The letters relate to the status of applications for enrollment or allotment, the sale and leas­ing of land, and applications for employment. Many of the books are marked “personal and confidential.”

Letters Sent to the Secretary of Interior, 1906–1914

Press copies of letters sent to the secretary of the Interior through the commissioner of Indian affairs. Arranged chronologically by date sent and indexed by subject.

Letters Sent to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1907–1911

Arranged in rough chronological order and indexed by subject.

Letters Sent (“Miscellaneous Letters”), 1895–1914

Press copies of let­ters sent to the U.S. Indian inspector for Indian Territory, the Union Agency, other Indian agencies, field offices of the Dawes Commission, officials of tribal governments, and the general public. Arranged chronologically by date sent.

Letters Sent by Commissioner Bixby, 1902–1907

Press copies of letters sent by Commissioner Bixby from Washington, D.C., to Commissioner in Charge T.B. Needles in Muskogee and letters sent by Bixby from Muskogee to the secretary of the interior, the commissioner of Indian affairs, and members of Congress. Arranged chronologically by date sent.

Annual Narrative Reports, 1894–1914

Printed copies of the annual reports of the commission’s activities submitted to the secretary of the interior. The reports provide detailed information about the activities of the commission. Arranged chrono­logically by date of report; (no reports for 1897, 1899–1903).

Index to Reference Documents

The index provides the category and file number of each document. The categories used are: A—Cherokee and Delaware; B—Choctaw and Chickasaw; C—Creek; D—Enrollment; E—Leases; F—Reports; and G—Miscellaneous. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Reference Documents (“Miscellaneous Documents”), 1896–1904

Correspondence, printed congressional docu­ments, copies of agreements with tribal governments, rules and instructions issued by the secretary of the interior or the commission, receipts for rolls and other papers supplied by tribal governments, copies of documents filed in cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts, and lists of persons admitted to tribal citizenship by U.S. courts. There are also transcripts of hearings in citizenship cases. Arranged in three groups. Within each group, docu­ments are arranged numerically by a file number assigned by the commission.

Records Relating to All Tribes

Index to Enrollment Cards, 1899–1907

Arranged by tribe and then by enrollment category. Entries within each volume are arranged alphabetically by the first two letters of the applicant’s surname. Generally, the index provides only the number of the card on which the applicant’s name appears, but some volumes also provide the individual’s en­rollment number. Many of the volumes include the names of persons listed on “doubtful” and “rejected” cards.

Index and Final Rolls, 1914

The index and final rolls are contained in separate volumes. Entries in the index are arranged by tribe, then by enrollment category, and then in roughly alphabet­ical order by the first two letters of the surname. Entries in the final rolls are arranged by tribe, then by enrollment category, and then numerically by the enrollment number assigned by the Dawes Commission.

Enrollment Cards (“Census Cards”), 1899–1907

These are original fourteen- by seven-inch printed cards annotat­ed with information about persons apply­ing for enrollment. Cards were prepared for each family group and used by enrollment parties traveling throughout Indian Territory to record information about the applicants and actions taken by the commission. The informa­tion given for each applicant generally includes name, enroll­ment num­ber, age, sex, degree of Indian blood, relationship to the head of the family group, references to enrollment on earlier tribal rolls used by the commission to verify eligibil­ity, and parents’ names. The cards often include notations about an applicant’s birth or death, changes in marital status, references to related enrollment cards, and actions taken by the commission or the secretary of the interior. The cards relating to applicants as freedmen also contain the name of the person who owned the applicant as a slave and the owner of the applicant’s parents. These cards have been microfilmed. Arranged by tribe and thereunder by enrollment category. Within each category there are generally three groups: “straight” (per­sons who were enrolled), “doubtful,” and “rejected.” Within each group, the cards are arranged numerically by a number assigned by the commission.

Duplicate Enrollment Cards, 1918–1919

Duplicate paper copies of the cards were prepared to reduce the use of the original cards and contain all of the information recorded on the original. There are no copies of Creek-, Seminole-, or Chero­kee-by-blood cards. Arranged by tribe, then by enrollment category, and then by type of card (straight, doubtful, or rejected). Within each type, the cards are arranged numerically by a number assigned by the Dawes Commission.

Letters Sent Transmitting Enrollment Schedules, 1901–1907

Press copies of letters sent to the secretary of the interior through the commissioner of Indian affairs transmit­ting schedules of the names of persons recom­mended for enroll­ment and press copies of the schedules. The information given in the schedules includes the person’s name, enrollment number, tribal district of residence, and the tribal roll used to verify eligibility. There are occa­sional remarks about relationships to other persons listed in the schedule. Arranged by tribe and then by enrollment catego­ry. Within each volume, the letters are arranged chronologi­cally by date sent.

Enrollment Schedules, 1900–1907

Carbon copies of typed schedules of the names of persons recommended for enrollment. The schedules were submitted to the secretary of the interior in triplicate for approval, and one copy was returned to the commission for reference. The information given for each person includes name, age, sex, degree of Indian blood, and enroll­ment number. The schedules for the Seminoles also include the band name and a reference to an 1897 Seminole census roll. Arranged by tribal enrollment category. Names within the schedule are arranged numerically by enrollment number.

Report on Enrollment, 1909

A press copy of a report prepared by Joseph W. Howell on the enrollment of the Five Civilized Tribes, which was submitted to the secretary of the interior. The report provides a detailed description of the enrollment procedures, controversial decisions, and difficulties of obtaining records from the tribal govern­ments. There are several appendixes that provide lists of tribal rolls used by the commission.

List of Claimants, 1907

A typed “Departmental List of Persons Who Claim to be Entitled to Enrollment as Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Prepared with a View to Remedial Legislation.” The list contains the names of 741 persons and includes the tribal affiliation claimed by each and a summary of the facts in each case. Names within the list are arranged alphabetically by surname.

Index to Citizenship Docket

Index to an unidenti­fied citizenship docket that provides only a case number for each claimant under the heading “Nation Number.” Arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the claimant’s surname.

Records of the Dawes Commission Relating to Cherokee Citizenship

List of Rejected Claimants, 1878–1880

A hand­written copy of a list of persons whose claim to citizen­ship was rejected by the Cherokee Commission on Citizenship. The only informa­tion given for each claimant is the case number and the reason for rejection (by decree, by default, or withdrawn). Arranged chrono­logically by court term, then by the reason for rejection, and then by case number.

List of Persons Admitted to Citizenship

A printed “List of persons admitted and re-admitted to Cherokee citizenship by the National Council and Commissions on Citizen­ship in the year 1880, and since that year.” The list covers the period from 1880 to 1899 and appears to have been printed for use by the commission. The only information given is the person’s name and the date admitted. Arranged (roughly) in alphabetical order by surname.

Cherokee Citizenship Commission Dockets, 1880–1984 and 1887–1889

A record of actions taken by the tribal commission on applica­tions for citizenship. Each docket entry generally includes the applicant’s name, age, sex, names of attorneys, the text of the application, a summary of the proceedings held, and the text of the commission’s deci­sion. Arranged numerically by case number assigned chronologi­cally by the date the case was opened and indexed by name of applicant.

Record of Births, 1897

A record of children born from 1895 to 1897. The list appears to have been completed in 1897 and contains the child’s name, date of birth, and parents’ names. Most of the children listed were born in 1897. Arranged by districts of the Cherokee Nation.

Dawes Commission Dockets, 1902

A record of actions taken by the Dawes Commission on applications for citizenship. The information given for each application includes the date filed, the names of the persons covered by the application, the date the attorneys for the Cherokee filed an answer, the commission’s decision, the date of appeal to the U.S. court, and the court’s decision. Arranged numerically by case number and assigned chronologi­cally by the date the case was opened.

Docket of Cases Appealed, 1896–1899

A record of actions taken by the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Indian Territory on appeals from decisions of the Dawes Com­mission on applications under the act of 1896. The informa­tion given for each case includes the names of the parties and their attor­neys, a summary of proceedings and motions filed, and the decision of the court. Arranged numeri­cally by case number assigned chronologi­cally by the date the case was opened. Indexed by name of applicant.

Lists of Applicants, 1902

Typed lists of per­sons admitted or rejected for citizenship by the U.S. courts for the northern and southern districts of Indian Territory. There are lists for the following actions: applicants admit­ted by the Dawes Commission and affirmed by the courts, applicants admitted by the court for the Southern District who had been rejected by the commis­sion, applicants denied by the court for the Northern District who had been admitted by the commission, and applicants admitted by the court for the Northern District who had been denied by the commission. The information given for each applicant generally includes the Dawes Commission case number, U.S. court docket number, and Dawes Commission enroll­ment card number. There are separate lists for admitted and rejected applicants. Within each list, names are arranged alphabetical­ly by surname.

Decisions of the U.S. Court, 1897–1899

Press copies of decisions of Judge William M. Springer of the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Indian Territory on appeals of decisions of the Dawes Commis­sion on applications for enrollment under the act of 1896. The decision of the judge often includes a report on the case prepared by a “special master” appointed by the court. Arranged in roughly chronological order by the date of the decision. Each volume is indexed by the name of the applicant involved in the deci­sion.

Records Relating to Appeals, 1897–1898

Bonds for appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court from decisions of the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Indian Territory, peti­tions for appeals, and assignments of errors. These records appear to be copies that were filed with the court and subsequently given to the Dawes Commission for reference. Arranged by case number assigned by the date the case was opened.

Lists of Applicants as Freedmen, 1897

Lists of applicants for partici­pation in an award by the U.S. Court of Claims to Cherokee freedmen who had not been included in the roll prepared for payment of the award. The lists include each applicant’s name, roll number from the 1880 Cherokee census, roll number from the Wallace roll of Cherokee freedmen, an exhibit number that corresponds to the exhibit number in the Applications for Enrollment as Freedmen, district of residence within the Cherokee Nation, and, occasionally, remarks about other enroll­ments. These lists were submitted as evidence to the Dawes Commission by the Cherokee National Council in enrollment proceedings. Names within each list are arranged in roughly alphabeti­cal order by applicants’ surnames.

Applications for Enrollment as Freedmen, 1897

Notarized applica­tions prepared on printed forms submitted by persons claiming a share of a payment made to Cherokee freedmen in accordance with an award of the U.S. Court of Claims in the case of Moses Whitmire, Trustee, v. the Cherokee Nation. The applica­tions and support­ing material were submitted by James M. Keys to the commission­er of Indian Affairs between 10 May and 30 June 1897 and may have been a part of the general correspon­dence of the bureau. It appears that the records were re­turned to the Dawes Commis­sion for use in enrollment proceed­ings. The application provides the applicant’s name, age, and district of residence in the Cherokee Nation, and the names and ages of other family members. Some letters from claimants and officials of the Cherokee tribal government are included with the application forms. Arranged numerically by exhibit number assigned in roughly chronologi­cal order by date of application.

Index to Applications for Enrollment through Intermar­riage

A handwritten index to the applications for enroll­ment through intermarriage. The only information given is the application number. Arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the applicant’s surname.

Applications for Enrollment through Intermarriage

Original applications submitted to the Dawes Com­mission for enrollment, which required any person married to a Cherokee citizen to apply for themselves and their children. The applications or petitions are notarized and provide the name, age, sex, and address of each child, and information in support of the claim to citizenship, such as date of marriage and enrollment on other tribal rolls. In addition to the applications, there are occasionally copies of marriage li­censes, statements of witnesses to the marriage, notice of service of a copy of the application on the chief of the Cherokee tribe, and the answer of the tribal government generally rejecting the claim. The Dawes Commission held hearings on the applications at Fort Gibson, but no records of the hearings have been located. Arranged numerically by application number assigned in rough­ly alphabetical order by the first letter of the appli­cant’s surname.

Dockets to Rejected and Doubtful Applications, 1904–1905

There is one docket for Cherokees by blood and one for freed­men. Within each docket are separate sections for doubtful and rejected applications. Within each section, entries are arranged numerically by case number assigned chronologically by the date the case was opened. Each docket contains an index to names of applicants. This source also contains a record of actions taken on applications classified by the commission as doubt­ful or rejected. The information for each application includes the names of the applicants and their attorneys, the decision of the commission, the date prepared, the date forwarded to the commissioner of Indian affairs, and the date approved by the secretary of the interior. Many of the doubtful and some of the rejected applications were eventually enrolled, and there are references to enrollment card numbers. The case numbers in these dockets match the application numbers in the applica­tions for enrollment and enrollment card num­bers in the enrollment cards (census cards).

Applications for Enrollment, 1898–1907

Original applications for enrollment and supporting evidence submitted to the Dawes Commission. The records include carbon copies of the testimony taken at hearings held by the commission, notices and letters sent to the applicants and the attorneys for both the appli­cants and the Cherokee tribe, correspondence with the secre­tary of the interior about the applications, and copies of the commis­sion’s decisions. There are applications only for the following categories: doubtful citizens by blood, rejected citizens by blood, doubtful freedmen, rejected freedmen, and newborn freedmen. There are also some memorandum cases, which contain applications rejected under an act of Congress that restricted the comm­ission’s jurisdiction. Applications for the bulk of the Cherokee categories are still in the custody of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and have been micro­filmed. Arranged by enrollment category and then numerically by application number assigned chronologically by date of applica­tion. There are numerous gaps in the applications, and some applica­tions are missing.

Transcripts of Testimony of Applicants, 1910

Carbon copies of transcripts of testi­mony taken at hearings held by the commis­sion. The majority of the applications relate to children of persons previously enrolled by the commission and persons listed on a roll of “Eastern Cherokees” who were not enrolled. Arranged numerically by application number assigned chronologi­cally by date of application.

Record of Decisions, 1901–1902

A record of actions taken by the commission on applications for enroll­ment. The information given for each action includes the names of the applicants, names of attorneys for the appli­cants and the Cherokee tribe, the nature of the decision, and a reference to the enrollment cards. Arranged chronological­ly by date of decision and indexed by applicant.

Index to the Cherokee Final Rolls

Two indexes to names appearing on the “Final Roll of the Chero­kees.” One index is contained in a single volume, and the second index is divided into two volumes (A through K and L through Z). The only information given in the index is the enrollee’s Dawes enrollment number. Arranged alphabeti­cally by the first two letters of the enrollee’s surname.

Records Relating to Choctaw and Chickasaw Citizenship

Acts of the Choctaw National Council, 1893–1895

Handwritten copies of “Acts of the General Council Admitting Parties to Citizenship.” The text of the acts includes the names of persons and the authority for admission. Ar­ranged chronologically by date of passage.

Lists of Applicants for Choctaw Citizenship, 1902

A typed list of persons who applied for Choctaw citizenship. The inform­ation given for each applicant includes the Dawes Commission case number and a reference to the enrollment cards. The list is annotated with an A for persons who were admitted and a D for persons who were denied. Arranged alphabetically by applicants’ surnames.

Lists of Persons Involved in Appeals to U.S. Courts, 1900

Lists of applicants for citizenship whose cases were appealed to the U.S. Court for the Central Dis­trict of Indian Territory at South McAlester or the Southern District at Ardmore. There are lists for persons admitted by the court, persons admitted by the court who were previously denied by the Dawes Commission, and persons denied by the court who had been previously admitted by the commission. The information given for each person generally includes the Dawes Commission case number, the U.S. court docket number, and references to the Choctaw-Chickasaw Citizenship Court case number. There are also two lists of cases heard by the U.S. Court for the Central District. One is arranged numeri­cally by case number and the other is listed alphabetically by the name of the first person listed in the appeal. Arranged by type of action taken by the court. The names within each list are arranged in rough alphabetical order by surname.

Indexes to Applicants, 1900–1906

Indexes to applications for enrollment under vari­ous acts of Congress, including Choctaws applying under the act of 31 May 1900; Choctaw and Chickasaw freedmen testify­ing at Atoka and Colbert between 4 and 16 June 1900; Choctaw and Chickasaw applicants under the act of 1 July 1902; Choctaw children applying after 25 September 1902; Choctaws also enrolled as Cherokees; Choctaw and Chickasaw applicants listed on rejected and doubtful enrollment cards; and Choctaws and Chickasaws found on earlier rolls who had not applied for enrollment. Each index generally pro­vides only a reference to the enrollment cards. Arranged by type of applica­tion. Entries within each index are arranged alphabetically by surname.

Lists of Chickasaw Applicants, 1899–1902

Lists of applicants for enrollment by the Dawes Commission as Chicka­saws, persons listed on tribal rolls who had not applied for enrollment, persons admitted by U.S. courts, and persons denied by the Dawes Commission. There are a few copies of marriage certificates and other documents submitted as evi­dence in enrollment proceedings. Some of the lists are annotated with enrollment numbers. Arranged in rough chronological order by the date com­piled.

Lists of Choctaw Applicants, 1899–1902

Lists of applicants or potential applicants for enrollment by the Dawes Commission as Choctaws. There are lists of “Choctaws on the 1896 roll—unenrolled by the Dawes Commission,” “Choctaws not having appeared before the Dawes Commission by 28 October 1899,” “applicants admitted by the Dawes Commis­sion,” and “parties on Choctaw cards who may be on Cherokee Cards.” The information given in the lists generally in­cludes the person’s name, Dawes Commission enrollment number, and a reference to one of the earlier Choctaw rolls used to determine eligibility for enrollment. Arranged in rough chronological order by the date com­piled.

Lists of Pending Applications, 1902–1905

Lists of names of applicants whose applications were pending at the time the lists were compiled. The informa­tion given for each applicant includes name, age, sex, and enrollment card number. There are separate lists for Choctaws by blood, Chickasaws by blood, Choctaw freedmen, and Chickasaw freedmen. Within each list, the names are arranged numerically by enrollment card number.

Dockets of Special Enrollment Cases, 1905–1907

There is a separate docket for each type of case. Entries within each docket are arranged numerically by case number assigned chronologically by the date the case was opened. The infor­mation given for each case includes the names of all appli­cants, names of attorneys, a chronological summary of papers filed and proceedings held, the decision of the commis­sion, actions taken by the secretary of the interior, and referenc­es to related cases.

Record of Decisions, 1902–1904, 1906–1907

A record of decisions on enrollment applications made by the commission and forwarded to the secretary of the interior for approval. The information given for each deci­sion includes the names of the applicants, enrollment card number, date of decision, action taken by the secretary of the interior, and date of notification to the applicant. There are separate volumes for Choctaws and Chickasaws. Within each volume, entries are in rough chronological order by date of decision.

=Records of the Choctaw-Chickasaw Citizenship Court

Section 31 of an act of Congress of 1 July 1902 (32 Stat. 641) established a Choctaw-Chickasaw Citizenship Court and authorized either tribe to file a bill of equity in the Citizenship Court to seek the annulment of the decisions made by the U.S. courts in Indian Territory under the act of 10 June 1896. Persons involved in those judgments were re­quired to institute proceedings in the Choctaw-Chickasaw Citizenship Court to regain enrollment. Cases originating in the U.S. Court for the Central District of Indian Territory were heard by the Citizenship Court at South McAlester, and cases from the Southern District were heard at Tishomingo.

The Citizenship Court heard 256 cases involving more that 3,400 people and admitted 161 to citizenship. The case files of the court are still in the custody of the Muskogee Area Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Lists of Claimants, 1902

The information given for each person claiming citizenship includes name, sex, age, degree of Indian blood, Dawes enroll­ment card number, and some remarks relating to decisions of the Citizenship Court. Some of the lists de­scribed under “Lists of Persons Involved in Appeals to U.S. Courts, 1900” have been annotated with case numbers from the Citizenship Court. There are separate lists for Choctaws and Chickasaws. Within each list, the names are arranged alphabetically by surname.

Index to Dockets, 1903

There is one index to the South McAlester docket, one index to the Tishomingo docket, and one consolidated index to both dockets. The information given for each person involved in a case before the Citizenship Court is the case number and the Dawes enrollment card num­ber.

General Dockets, 1903–1904

There is one docket for cases heard at South McAlester and one docket for cases heard at Tishomingo. Entries within each docket are arranged numerical­ly by case number assigned chronologically by the date the case was opened; indexed by surname of principal party. Information given for each case includes the names of all parties involved, names of attorneys, nature of the case, and a chronological summary of papers filed and proceedings held.

Appearance Dockets, 1902–1904

There is a separate docket for cases heard at South McAlester and Tishomingo. Entries within each docket are arranged numerically by case number assigned chronologically by the date the case was opened; indexed by the surname of the principal party. Information given for each case includes the names of all parties in­volved, the names of attorneys, and a summary of the orders, writs, and other documents filed with the court. The summa­ries in these dockets are more detailed than the summaries contained in the dockets described previously under “General Dockets, 1903–1904.”

Case Files, 1902–1904

Original papers filed in proceedings held by the Citizenship Court including briefs, memorandums of argument submitted by attorneys for the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, and opinions of the court. The majority of the cases were heard at South McAlester. Arranged by docket number as­signed in chronological order by the date the case was opened.

Records Relating to the Identification of Mississippi Choctaws

The Dawes Commission was required by an act of Congress to investigate the right of the Mississippi Choctaws to enroll­ment and allotment. The commission received 24,634 applica­tions from all over the United States before the deadline of 25 March 1903.

Lists of Claimants under the Treaty of 1830

Manuscript copies of lists of persons who remained in Mississippi under article 14 of the treaty of 1830 and claimed land. Each list generally in­cludes the claimant’s name, date of application, and the legal description of the land claimed. Some lists have been anno­tated with Dawes enrollment numbers and enrollment card numbers. Arranged alphabetically by surname.

Index and Record of Testimony, 1899

Copies of an index to Mississippi Choctaw applicants who appeared before the com­mission in 1899 in Carthage, Philadel­phia, and Decatur, Mis­sissippi, and typed transcripts of the testimony given by the applicants. Arranged alphabet­ically by surname of the applicant.

Indexes to Field Cards

Index to enrollment cards. The only information provided is the field number of the applicant’s enrollment card. Arranged alphabetically by surname of applicant.

Indexes to Applicants, 1902–1906

Indexes to applicants for enrollment under various acts of Congress. The indexes in­clude the following categories: identified and rejected; rejected and reviewed by the secretary of the interior; decisions during the year ending 30 June 1903; applications for chil­dren whose parents were rejected; and newborn and minor chil­dren. The indexes generally provide only a reference to the applicant’s enroll­ment card number and occasionally an en­rollment number. Arranged alphabeti­cally by surname of applicant.

Decisions of the Commission, 1902–1904

Deci­sions of the commission on applications for identification as Mississip­pi Choctaws. The decision generally reviews the facts of the application. Arranged chro­nologi­cally by date of decision. The first volume contains an index to all applicants covered by the decisions.

Roll of Identified Mississippi Choctaws, 1905

List of persons who were identi­fied as Mississippi Choctaws. The information provided for each person includes enrollment number and enrollment card number. The names on the roll are arranged by enrollment card number; indexed by surname.

Lists of Identified Full-Blood Mississippi Choctaws

Information given for each person includes enrollment card number, age, sex, post office address, county or parish of residence, and date of removal to the Choctaw Nation. The lists have been annotated to indicate persons who were removed at government expense, refused to remove, could not be located, or died prior to removal to the Choctaw Nation. Arranged alphabetically by surname.

Lists of Persons Removed, 1904

List of persons identified as Mississippi Choctaws who were removed from Mississippi and Louisiana at government expense, and a list of persons who were identified but re­fused to remove. The information given for each person includes age, sex, post office address, county or parish of residence, and date of removal or identification. Names of persons who were removed are arranged alphabetically. Names of persons who refused to remove are arranged numerically by identified roll number.

Records Relating to Creek Citizenship

List of Applicants, 1895–1896

List of applicants considered by the Creek Citizen­ship Commission in 1895 and 1896. The information given for each applicant includes type of citizenship claimed, date of application, date of judgment, decision rendered, and a reference to a “Record Book.” The list has been annotated with the field numbers of Dawes enrollment cards. Arranged alphabetically by surname.

Citizenship Commission Docket, 1895

A record of cases heard by the Citizenship Commis­sion. The informa­tion given for each case includes the names of all persons involved and occasionally a reference to the action taken by the Citizenship Commission. Arranged numerical­ly by case number assigned chronologi­cally by the date the case was opened and indexed by surname of applicant.

Record Books, 1885–1888, 1895–1896

Record of actions taken by the tribal Citizenship Commission on applica­tions for citizenship. The information given for each case generally includes the text of the application, transcripts of testimo­ny, and the comm­ission’s recommendation. There are occasion­al references to the docket described under “Citizenship Commission Docket, 1895.” Part of the record was prepared on unbound printed forms (“Census of the Non-Citizens of the Muskogee Nation”). There is a list of persons that contains the person’s age and a description of his or her property. Arranged in rough numeri­cal order by case number assigned in chronological order by the date the case opened.

Lists of Admitted Applicants, 1902

Lists of persons admitted to citizenship by the Dawes Commission or the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Indian Territory. The list gives only the person’s name and Dawes Commission case number. Some of the lists have been annotated with field numbers of Dawes enroll­ment cards. Arranged alphabeti­cally by surname of applicant.

Indexes to Unenrolled Creeks, 1900

Creeks on the authenticat­ed roll of 1890 and Creeks on the authenticated roll of 1895 who had not been enrolled by the Dawes Commission as of 15 August 1900. Information given for each person includes town of residence and the roll numbers from the 1890 and 1895 rolls. Arranged alphabeti­cally by surname.

List of Unenrolled Creeks

A list of the names of Creeks who appeared on various tribal rolls but had not been enrolled by the Dawes Commission. The only information given is the person’s name.

Miscellaneous Indexes, 1902–1906

Indexes to various enrollment catego­ries, including citizens by blood, freedmen, minors, and newborns. The indexes generally provide only the enroll­ee’s enrollment number or enrollment card number. Arranged alphabeti­cally by surname of enrollee.

Lists of Applicants, 1900–1907

Lists of Creeks whose names appear on various tribal rolls and applicants for whom birth or death affida­vits were submitted. Some of the lists have been annotated with enroll­ment card numbers. Arranged alphabetically by surname.

Index to Freedmen Enrollment Cards, 1898

Index to the “Old Series” of freedmen enrollment cards. Arranged alphabeti­cally by surname of enrollee.

Enrollment Cards (“Old Series Cards”), 1898

Original enrollment cards pre­pared from the authenticated 1895 Creek census. Each card contains the names of the members of a family group and each person’s age, sex, degree of Indian blood, post office ad­dress, district or town of residence, 1895 payroll number, and relationship to the head of the family group. The card also includes remarks about names used on earlier rolls, actions taken by the Dawes Commission, and references to the field numbers of the enrollment cards. Arranged numeri­cally by card number.

Record of Enrollment

A record prepared on a printed paper form similar to the enrollment cards. The form contains the names of all members of a family group and remarks about actions taken by the Dawes Commission. The field numbers on these cards do not match the numbers on the enroll­ment cards. Arranged numerically by field number.

Records Relating to Seminole Citizenship

Index to Newborns, 1905

Persons enrolled under the act of Con­gress of 3 March 1905. The only information given is the person’s enrollment number and enrollment card number. Arranged alphabetically by enrollee’s surname.

Enrollment Schedules, 1900

Schedules prepared on printed forms of the names of persons enrolled as “Seminole Citizens by Blood” and “Seminole Freedmen.” The informa­tion given for each person includes age, sex, band name, roll number from the 1897 Seminole census, post office address, and parents’ names and 1897 enrollment numbers. Arranged numerically by enrollment card number.

References

  1. Laurence F. Schmeckebier, The Office of Indian Affairs, Its History, Activities, and Organization (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1927), 131-35.
  2. Laurence F. Schmeckebier, The Office of Indian Affairs, Its History, Activities, and Organization (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1927), 131-35.
  3. Felix S. Cohen, Handbook of Federal Indian Law (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press), 433-44.
  4. Kent Carter, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Muskogee Area Office and The Five Civilized Tribes (1982).

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