Please login or signup to add a comment to this paragraph.

Add comment   Close
Don Yarber Don Yarber
Recommendations: 42

Proving Native American Heritage

Share this writing

Link to this writing

Start Writing

More from Don Yarber

Being Too Descriptive
God loves idiots and little children.
Like an Old Barn
A Poets Fate

More Essays

Sam Lingham Sam Lingham
Recommendations: 2
Aaron Greene Aaron Greene
Recommendations: 8
Writing Blog 1: Beginnings
John Tucker John Tucker
Recommendations: 23
Establishing A Character's POV - (Point-Of-View)
Richard Z. kruspe Richard Z. kruspe
Recommendations: 16
First Day on my Own
Sam Lingham Sam Lingham
Recommendations: 2

      Anyone who has seriously studied the plight of the Native American Indian has discovered that the United States Government’s attempt to compensate the Indians was flawed from the very beginning.  One only has to read the reasons for acceptance or rejection written by David Siler (of the Siler Rolls) to find examples of “one man’s opinion.”  These can be found at

       The same page is evidence of the fact that many Native Americans denied their Indian heritage because they did not want to be forced to leave their lands.  By the same token, there were many non-Native Americans who tried to claim Indian Heritage in order to receive moneys doled out by the Federal Government.  

       One thing is clear.  The Federal Government’s involvement was full of errors.  It appears in reading actual case histories that the census takers used their own or someone else’s opinion, rather than known facts, to reject or deny applicants.        

        In a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, David Siler writes:

       “Indeed these people are so scattered since the breaking up of the Nation that I do not flatter myself with the belief that with all the names I have taken their names have been ascertained and reported in the course of four months.  I think however that very few indeed have been omitted if there are any.”

       The Federal Commission to pay the Cherokees for their lands was finalized by the Guion-Miller rolls in 1906.  Guion-Miller used the Chapman Rolls to include those Cherokees east of the Mississippi.  The Chapman Rolls were based on the Siler Rolls. (According to Barbara Benge on her webpage regarding Native Americans)
       Siler admitted that in four months it was hard to ascertain how many names were included or omitted.  Then he states that “very few have been omitted if there are any.”  I find this classical case of “doublespeak” very difficult to follow.  Either there were many that were not listed as he states in the first part of the paragraph, or there were few that were omitted.

       Although these “rolls” may be a place to look for your ancestors it appears that whether you find them on the rolls or not is not necessarily a true indication as to whether or not they were Native American.  Standard approaches to genealogy research may be best utilized if the “rolls” are used as aids, rather than “facts”.

Link to this writing

Share this writing

Don Yarber's website:

Next: All I want, All I need.