Indians of North Carolina

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Tribes and Bands of North Carolina

The following list of American Indians who have lived in North Carolina has been compiled from Hodge's Handbook of American Indians...[1] and from Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America[2]. Some are simply variant spellings for the same tribe.

Algonquian, Bear River, Cape Fear, Catawba, Cheraw, Cherokee, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Coharie, Snowbird-Cherokee, Chowanoc, Coree, Eno, Haliwa-Saponi (Halifax and Warren), Hatteras, Keyauwee, Lowry Band, Lumbee, Machapunga, Meherrin, Moratok, Munlungeons, Natchez, Neuse, Neusiok, Occaneechi, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pedee, Poteskeet, Roanoac, Saponi, Sara, Saura, Secotan, Shakori, Siouan, Sissipahaw, Sugeree, Tuscarora, Tutelo, Waccamaw, Waccamaw-Siouan (Bladen and Columbus), Wateree, Waxhaw, Weapemeoc, Woccon, Yadkin, Yeopim


From the mid-1800s, the official policy of the United States government toward the American Indian was to confine each tribe to a specific parcel of land called a reservation. Agencies were established on or near each reservation. A government representative, usually called an agent (or superintendent) was assigned to each agency. Their duties included maintaining the peace, making payments to the Native Americans based on the stipulations of the treaties with each tribe, and providing a means of communication between the native population and the federal government.

The following list of reservations has been compiled from the National Atlas of the United States of America[3], the Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America[4], and other sources. These reservations have historically been associated with the state or are not currently recognized by the federal government.

  • Cherokee Reservation
  • Eastern Cherokee Reservation: State; underjurisdiction of Cherokee Agency, Tribe: Cherokee
  • Coharie Intra-Tribal Council
  • Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe
  • Lumbee Tribe
  • Meherrin Indian Reservation
  • Waccamauw Siouan Tribe

Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.

The following agency is the only one currently operating in North Carolina. Additional information about agencies can be found in Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...[5], Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians[6], and others.

Indian Schools

The Office of Indian Affairs (now the Bureau of Indian Affairs) established a network of schools throughout the United States, beginning with Carlisle Indian School, established in 1879. Some of these schools were day schools, usually focusing on Indian children of a single tribe or reservation. Some were boarding schools which served Indian children from a number of tribes and reservations.

In addition, other groups such as various church denominations established schools specifically focusing on American Indian children. (read more...)

The following list of Indian Schools in Washington has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...[7], Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians[8], and others.


The most powerful Indian nations in North Carolina were the Cherokee and the Tuscarora. After 1713 the Tuscarora migrated to New York. Between 1828 and 1839, many of the Cherokees in the state were forced to go to land that later became Oklahoma.

For an important gateway site with connections to key American Indian Internet sites, see:

  • Howells, Cyndi. "Native American." In Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet [database on-line]. Puyallup, Washington: Cyndi Howells, 4 December 2007 [cited 5 December 2007]. Available at:

This site has many links to American Indian web sites in 14 categories such as history, libraries, e-mailing lists, people, researchers, publications, records, and societies. The "Cherokee Research" section under the "Specific Tribal or Nation Resources" category has links to over 20 other web sites. Another excellent website is Native American Genealogy Complete Index at:

If you have Cherokee ancestry from North Carolina, search the Cherokee rolls, censuses, and applications that contain such information as percentage of blood (1/2,1/4,1/8), birth date, marriage date, parents’ names, names of spouse and parents, children’s names, birth dates of children, residence, and birth place information. The person’s occupation may also be stated, and there may be affidavits of relatives and friends.

Cherokee Families That Stayed in North Carolina

The names of many Cherokees who did not leave North Carolina are found in:

  • Blankenship, Bob. Cherokee Roots. 2 vols. Cherokee, North Carolina: B. Blankenship, 1992. (Family History Library book 970.3 C424bL 1992.  Volume one has rolls of Cherokees east of the Mississippi for the years 1817, 1818–1835, 1848, 1851, 1852, 1869, 1883, 1908, 1909, and 1924. Volume 2 lists Cherokees west of the Mississippi from rolls prepared in the years 1851–1852 and 1898–1914. The name of the person and the roll number are given. A transcription of the 1851 list is also contained in:
  • Siler, David W. The Eastern Cherokees: A Census of the Cherokee Nation in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia in 1851. Cottonport, Louisiana: Polyanthos, 1972. (Family History Library book 970.3 C424sd  Included in this book are the names of the husband, wife, and children (giving their relationships); ages; county and town of residence; and notes. The North Carolina counties of Cherokee, Macon, and Haywood are represented. The book is fully indexed.

The Cherokee rolls for 1851–1910 are found in:

  • Miller, Guion. Records Relating to Enrollment of Eastern Cherokee, 1908–1910. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0685. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1967. (Family History Library films 830434–45)  The records on these films include applications and an index (1908–1910), exceptions with supplemental roll (1909–1910), miscellaneous testimony (1908–1909), Sizemore testimonies (1908), Pointdexter and Creek testimonies (1908), combined index of Eastern Cherokee rolls (1851), Chapman roll (1851), Drennen roll (1851), Eastern Cherokee names added to Siler roll (1854), index to old settler roll (1851), index to Hester roll (1851), miscellaneous notes (1851), and Hester roll (1884). Each census is indexed except the 1884 Hester roll. Many of these indexes and records are digitized at
  • United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Indian Census Rolls, Cherokee, 1898–1939. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M595. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1965. (Family History Library films 573868–720.) These are records of the eastern band of Cherokees located in North Carolina. The films include census rolls for 1898–1899, 1904, 1906, 1909–1912, 1914, 1915–1939; birth records for 1924–1939; marriage records for 1936; and death records for 1926–1939. These census records are in alphabetical order except for the year 1898. The rolls list the person’s number, Indian and English name, age, percentage of blood, relationship to head of household, and, generally, their residence. Often the maiden name of the wife is stated. Persons who had one parent who was not a Cherokee by blood were not listed on these rolls, but they are generally listed in the Dawes Commission records for Oklahoma described below.

Cherokee Families That Moved to Oklahoma

Two important enrollment records were taken in the Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. Internet links to many of the following digitized records and indexes can be accessed at These list North Carolina Cherokees who moved to the Indian Territory:

  • Dawes Commission Rolls, 1898–1914. In 1893 the United States government established a commission to exchange the Cherokees’ (and four other tribes’) former lands in North Carolina and other Southern states for land allotments in the Indian Territory. The following book is an excellent index to settlers in the Indian Territory:
  • Blankenship, Bob. Dawes Roll "Plus" of Cherokee Nation "1898". 2nd ed. North Carolina: Cherokee Roots Publishing, 1994. (Family History Library book 970.1 B611d.) This book contains the names found in the 1898 Dawes Roll plus the Guion Miller Roll. Researchers can compare the two rolls and see such things as a 1906 surname change brought about by marriage, divorce, or adoption.

The book gives the Dawes roll number, family enrollment (census) number, Guion Miller roll number, Guion Miller application number, age, sex, percentage of Indian blood, surname used in 1906 for the Guion Miller roll, and city and state of residence. All 36,714 Cherokee Nation citizens of Cherokee blood are included. Those persons in the family who are not Cherokee by blood are not listed in this book; they are listed on the enrollment (census) applications. The enrollment cards and the applications are on films at the Family History Library in:

  • United States. Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Enrollment Cards For the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898–1914. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1186. Washington DC: National Archives. 1981. (On 93 Family History Library films beginning with 1490261.) The commission asked applicants to fill out enrollment cards (sometimes referred to as a census card) that may include name; age; sex; degree of Indian blood; references to earlier tribal rolls; parents’ names and places of residence; relationship to head of family; and related enrollees such as husband, wife, children, and sometimes grandchildren and wards. An index is on Family History Library film 1490261.
  • United States. Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Cherokee Indian Rolls Dealing with the Dawes Commission. National Archives Microfilm Publications, T0529. Washington DC; Salt Lake City, Utah: National Archives; Genealogical Society of Utah. 1961, 1973, 1981, 1983. (On 300 Family History Library films beginning with 908371 item 2.) These records are for the time period 1898 to 1914. To find an ancestor’s name in these records, use the Blankenship book Dawes Roll "Plus" of Cherokee Nation "1898" mentioned above.

If you do not have access to Blankenship’s book, first check volume 2 of:

  • United States. Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. The Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory. Washington, DC: Govt. Print. Off., 2003. (Family History Library book 970.1 Un3c; film 908371 item 2; or fiche 6051501.) Look in the section, "Index to Cherokees by Blood," beginning on page 238. If the person was born during the special enrollment period beginning 26 April 1906 until 1914, see the "Index to Minor Cherokees by Blood" beginning on page 428. Find the person’s name and roll number.
  • Index to The Final Rolls of Citizens.... (Family History Library book 970.1 Un3c index; film 962366 item 1; or fiche 6051501.) Find the roll number of the person. You will also find the person’s name, age, sex, percentage of Cherokee blood, and census card number.

Third, find the census card number in Cherokee Indian Rolls Dealing With the Dawes Commission described above. The census card gives such information as father’s name, mother’s name, wife’s maiden name, year of marriage, names of children and their ages, sometimes the affidavits by relatives or friends, and names of persons in the family who are not of Cherokee blood.

Fourth, using the roll number given in volume1 of The Final Rolls of Citizens. look at the application in the following films:

  • United States. Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Applications for Enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. 1898–1914. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1301. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1983. (On 468 Family History Library films beginning with 1439798 [[|]], Cherokee Tribe begins on Family History Library film 1439971.) The applications may contain birth and marriage information, place of residence, age, and names of children and their birth information.

Guion Miller Rolls, 1906–1910. Between 1906 and 1910, the federal government created another set of records, commonly called the Guion Miller Report. This report lists the genealogy of people who were alive in 1906 and who claimed to be descendants of the eastern Cherokees. These persons were seeking compensation from the government for lands taken from the eastern Cherokees in the 1830s. Applicants had to state their lineage back to an eastern Cherokee living in the 1830s. Applicants who went west before 1835 were not entitled to a share in the settlement, and their names do not appear in the report.

The Guion Miller applications required each claimant to state fully his or her English and Indian names, residence, age, place of birth, name of husband or wife, name of tribe, names of children, and information about parents and grandparents including their English and Indian names, place of birth, residence in 1851, date of death, and a statement as to whether any of them had ever been enrolled before for annuities or other benefits and, if so, with what tribe. Each claimant was to furnish the names of all brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts, including their age and residence. The National Archives and the Family History Library have the complete files of the claimants on microfilm:

  • United States. Court of Claims. Eastern Cherokee Applications, August 29, 1906–May 26, 1909. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1104. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1981. (On 348 Family History Library films beginning with 378594 ). The general index is found on Family History Library film 378594 item1. Another copy of the index is:
  • Blankenship, Bob. Guion Miller Roll "Plus" of Eastern Cherokee, East and West of Mississippi "1909". Cherokee, North Carolina: Cherokee Roots, 1994. (Family History Library book 970.3 C424gmr.) This index contains 62,769 names and has two sections: those Cherokees who were accepted for payment of claims, and those not accepted. The book is arranged alphabetically. The first section gives name, Miller number, Miller application number, Dawes number, Dawes enrollment (census card) number, age in 1906, relationship to head of family, percentage of Indian blood, and city and state of residence. The second section contains last name, first name(s) and initial, Miller application number, and state of residence.

Guidebooks. More information about censuses and other records is contained in:

  • Hoskins, Shirley. Cherokee Blood Newsletter, 2 vols. Post Office Box 22261, Chattanooga, TN 37422. (Family History Library book 970.3 C424cbn (vol.1 has issues 1-6; vol. 2 has issues 13-19; film1597913 item 5 [issues 8,9,13–18])
  • Byers, Paula K., ed. Native American Genealogical Sourcebook. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1995. (Family History Library book 970.1 B991n.)
  • Mooney, Thomas G. Exploring Your Cherokee Ancestry: A Basic Genealogical Research Guide. Tahlequah, Oklahoma: Cherokee National Historical Society, 1990. (Family History Library book 970.3 C424mt; film [0*%2C0%2C0&titleno=601791&disp=Exploring+your+Cherokee+ancestry++ 1697368 item 5].)

Family History Library

Records of American Indians of North Carolina are listed in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search under:


or a Subject Search under:


You can also find records in the Subject Searchunder the name of the tribe or group, such as:





  • Census films:  Family History Library Film 573868-573872, 1898-1929 with supplemental births and deaths
  • Guion Miller and Dawes Commission records

See Also

North Carolina-History

North Carolina- Military


  1. Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethonology, Bulletin #30 1907. Available online.
  2. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.
  3. National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations Available online.,
  4. Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991
  5. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. (Family History Library book 970.1 H551o.)
  6. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. (FHL book 970.1 H551g.)
  7. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. (Family History Library book 970.1 H551o.)
  8. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. (FHL book 970.1 H551g.)
  • American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998.
  • Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981.
  • Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Publishing Company, Inc., 1974.
  • Historical Sketches for Jurisdictional and Subject Headings Used for the Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880. National Archives Microcopy T1105.
  • Preliminary Inventory No. 163: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Services. Available online
  • "Accompanying Pamphlet for Microcopy 1011", National Archives Microfilm Publications, Appendix.