Five Civilized Tribes

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The Five Civilized Tribes consist of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole Indian Tribes.

They became commonly referred to as the Five Civilized Tribes......

These tribes had Freedmen who were former African American slaves of tribal members or descendants of former slaves living among them.


Enrollment Records

Dawes Commission Enrollment Records.

In 1893 Congress established a commission to exchange Indian tribal lands in the southeastern United States for new land allotments to individuals in Oklahoma. The Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes was called the Dawes Commission after its chairman, Senator Dawes. More than 250,000 people applied to this commission for enrollment and land. Just over 100,000 were approved.

The Dawes Rolls are very important for Native American Research for anyone who has native american ancestors who were from the five civilized tribes. The Dawes Rolls were and still are used to determine if people were native american or not.

The following is a description of the Dawes Rolls from the website:

The Dawes Rolls, also known as the "Final Rolls", are the lists of individuals who were accepted as eligible for tribal membership in the "Five Civilized Tribes": Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles. The Rolls contain more than 101,000 names from 1898-1914 (primarily from 1899-1906). They can be searched to discover the enrollee's name, sex, blood degree, and census card number.

The census card may provide additional genealogical information, and may also contain references to earlier rolls, such as the 1880 Cherokee census. A census card was generally accompanied by an "application jacket". The jackets then sometimes contain valuable supporting documentation, such as birth and death affidavits, marriage licenses, and correspondence. Today these five tribes continue to use the Dawes Rolls as the basis for determining tribal membership. They usually require applicants to provide proof of descent from a person who is listed on these rolls.

The following site will give you a step-by-step example of what you can find using the Dawes Rolls at the Family History Library. In this example, the name of the person is George Guess and he is from the Cherokee tribe.

To go to this site, click on Dawes Rolls.

Content of the Records

Enrollment Cards (also called census cards) include residence, roll numbers, names of family members, relationships, ages, sex, degree of Indian, enrollment date, place and number, parents and their enrollment date or plane, spouses, divorces, children or grandchildren. This is one page of information.

Applications for enrollmentinclude name, address, date of letter, file number, date received, subject, and action taken. Letters are with the applications. Applications are usually the most valuable. Sometimes they can contain a hundred pages.

Letter Logs include affidavits, vital records, letters, questionnaires, and decisions mentioning relatives, dates, and places.

Eastern Cherokee or Guion Miller Roll This is a list of Eastern Cherokees who applied for money awarded in 1905 because of a law suit.

Removal Records

The Indian Removal Act was signed May 26, 1830 by President Andrew Jackson. The Act initiated a policy of removal of American Indians tribes living east of the Mississippi River to land west of the river.




Years of Emigration


Before Removal





stayed in Sourtheast

Information of Interest
Choctaw Dancing Rabbit Creek September 27, 1830 1831-1836

19,554 including and 6,000 Black Slaves

12,500 2,000-4,000 (Cholera) 7,000 When the tribe reached Little Rock the Choctaw chief stated to the Arkansas Gazette that the removal was a "trail of tears and death"
Seminole Payne's Landing May 9,1832 1832-1842 5,000 and Fugitive Slaves 2,833 - 250-500 Left Florida and crossed the Gulf of Mexico into New Orleans
Creek Cusseta March 24,1832 1834-1837 22,700 +900 Black Slaves 19,600 3,500 (disease after removal) 100s -
Cherokee New Echota December 29,1835 1836-1838 21,500 + 2,000 Black Slaves 20,000 + 2,000 Slaves 2,000-8,000 1,000

Jeremiah Evarts (Missionary)

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 1831

Worchester v. Georgia, 1832

Chickawaw Pontotoc Creek October 20, 1832 1837-1847 4,914 +1,156 Black Slaves 4,000 500-800 100s Tribe requested financial compensation of $3 million for their land:

References (see also: chart)

1. Anderson, William L., ed. Cherokee Removal: Before and After. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8203-1482-X.

2. Ehle, John. Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. New York: Doubleday, 1988. ISBN 0-385-23953-X

3. Foreman, Grant. Indian Removal: the Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1932, 11th printing 1989. ISBN 0-8061-1172-0

4.Prucha, Francis Paul. The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians. Voulme I. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1984. ISBN 0-8032-3668-9.

Web sites



  • Lennon, Rachal Mills. Tracing Ancestors Among the Five Civilized Tribes; Southeastern Indians Prior to Removal. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002. FHL Book 970.1 L548t.