Becoming a member of your tribe can sometimes be a complicated process, but it is well worth the time and energy to become a citizen of your tribal nation. If you are eligible for membership or enrollment, we strongly encourage you to do so.
How to Enroll in Your Tribe
To begin this process, you will first need to know if you are eligible. Every tribe has it's own rules about who can enroll, but most require you to have a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This is a Federal document shows the percent of Indian ancestry that you can prove. For example, if you can prove that one grandparent was a full Wampanoag, then your CDIB card will say, 1/4 Wampanoag.
It is important to know that the CDIB will only show what you can prove through birth certificates. Often it can be difficult to prove ancestry because of missing or inaccurate documents. Do not be discouraged. The reward of your work will be inherited by your children.
Step #1 Research
Talk with your family about your heritage. Get as many clues as you can about the names and tribes of your ancestors. You will need a name of a direct ancestor who was tribally enrolled or who had tribal membership. Many tribes have their a genealogical departments and will be happy to help you find your ancestor. You may be able to search directly for your ancestor on the U.S. government's Indian rolls.
The U.S. government's Indian rolls were made between 1874 and 1940 and are the legal basis for determining Indian Blood Quantum. Finding your ancestors on the rolls is a matter of determining where they were living at the time, and which tribe they were a member of. The Dawes Rolls, the largest of the Indian Rolls, contains the names of the people in Oklahoma who qualified for membership, and were approved for membership, with the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole Nations. Other tribes are recorded on different rolls. More information on the Indian Rolls can be found at https://www.archives.gov/research/census/native-americans/1885-1940.html.
No one believes that the Indian Rolls contain a complete census of the tribes, however you must be a descendent of an original enrollee on the Indian Rolls in order to apply for a C.D.I.B. card. If your ancestors are not on the Indian Rolls, it does not mean that you can not get involved and support the American Indian Community in Los Angeles.
Step #2 Document
After you have the name, you will need to get the birth certificates for them, and all other people in your line to prove your ancestry. For example, if your great grandfather was tribally enrolled, then you will need birth certificates for him, your grandfather, your parents, and you. To get birth certificates, contact the vital health and records department for the state that the person was born in.
Step #3 Apply For CDIB.
You must submit all the birth certificate proving your linage when you apply for you (CDIB) card. While you wait for the government to process your paperwork, research your tribe's enrollment requirements. Some tribes require that you have a certain degree of Indian ancestry, while others do not. Other tribes require residency on tribal land, or continued contact with the tribe. Each tribe set's it's own requirements.
Step #4 Apply For Membership
The C.D.I.B card does not give membership, but it is often required for membership. Each tribe is it's own sovereign nation, and has the legal right to determine their own membership requirement. For helping contacting your tribe's membership or enrollment
We hope that this information was helpful