Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Announces Its Distinguished 2015 National Artist Fellowship Awardees

VANCOUVER, Wash., Aug. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — For the fifth year, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) awards its distinguished National Artist Fellowship to a new group of talented, recognizable and promising artists. Thirteen awardees were selected from a national open call of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian artist applicants who were meticulously reviewed by a panel of invited art experts. Awards were made in five art categories namely the Visual arts, Traditional arts, Performing arts, Literature and Music. The awarded artists come from several states and the District of Columbia: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Washington.

“This year’s National Artist Fellows are awe-inspiring and we are excited to be recognizing and honoring some of America’s highly praised Native artists through these Fellowships,” says the foundation’s Director of Programs Francene Blythe. “We hold in the highest esteem such an amazing pool of artists who are provocative, outspoken and challenge their imaginations to ever new heights of ingenuity, which invigorates their work.”

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) National Artist Fellowship gives a monetary award that assists with support in order to provide Native artists the opportunity to explore and experiment with new creative projects and further develop their artistic careers. NACF is grateful for the support of the Ford Foundation and the generosity of arts patrons for making these national fellowships possible.

2015 National Artist Fellows:

Visual Arts

  • James Luna, Luiseño/Diegueño
  • Anna Tsouhlarakis, Navajo/Creek
  • Frank Big Bear, White Earth Ojibwe

Traditional Arts

  • Clarissa Rizal, Tlingit
  • David Boxley, Tsimshian
  • Kelly Church, Grand Traverse Band Ottawa and Chippewa


  • Stephen Blanchett, Yup’ik
  • Lehua Kalima, Native Hawaiian
  • Starr Kalahiki, Native Hawaiian


  • Layli Long Soldier, Oglala Sioux
  • Laura Da’, Eastern Shawnee
  • Linda Hogan, Chickasaw

Performing Arts

  • Martha Redbone, Cherokee/Shawnee/Choctaw descent

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation’s mission is to promote the revitalization, appreciation and perpetuation of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures through grant making, convening and advocacy. To date, NACF has supported more than 150 artists and organizations in more than 24 states and Native communities nationwide. To learn more about the National Artist Fellows and NACF’s work—nurturing the passion and power of creative expression, visit:

Media Contact: Liz Hill (808) 856-6012 /
Rupert Ayton (360) 314-2421 /

Court revises test on who is Native American

By Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF (AP) — Attorneys in federal cases stemming from crimes on American Indian reservations have new guidance on what’s needed to prove a defendant is Indian.

Federal authorities have jurisdiction over major crimes on tribal land when the victim, suspect or both are American Indian. A two-part test determines who is Indian.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revised the first part of that test in an opinion Tuesday — no longer requiring that the degree of Indian blood be traced to a federally recognized tribe — and restored an Arizona man’s 90-year sentence on assault and firearms charges.

The court said evidence at trial was enough to find Damien Zepeda is American Indian. Zepeda, an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community, disagreed.

“That’s why it was so important to clarify that the proof in this case was sufficient,” said Arthur Hellman, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who monitors the 9th Circuit. “This will lay down the rule for future prosecutors.”

In 2013, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ruled prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zepeda’s bloodline of one-quarter Pima and one-quarter Tohono O’odham derived from an American Indian tribe recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. It reversed all but one of nine convictions and ordered a lower court to resentence him.

The panel also said federal recognition of a tribe is a matter for a jury to decide.

The court revised its opinion in September 2013 and said federal recognition is a question of law to be decided by a judge. The full 9th Circuit agreed Tuesday.

The new opinion reinstates Zepeda’s convictions and sentence, and modifies what’s known as the Bruce test for determining who is American Indian.

Under the revised test, a defendant still must be a member of or affiliated with a federally recognized tribe, and have a degree of Indian blood. But the defendant’s blood quantum no longer must be traced to a federally recognized tribe.

The full 9th Circuit said the test was satisfied with Zepeda’s tribal enrollment certificate, testimony by Zepeda’s brother that their father was an Indian, and the Gila River Indian Community being a federally recognized tribe.

Zepeda’s attorney, Michele Moretti, said Wednesday she would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Federal prosecutors declined to comment.

The 9th Circuit had placed several other cases dealing with Indian status on hold until it addressed the question in Zepeda’s case.

The court was unanimous its ruling, but Judges Alex Kozinski and Sandra Ikuta disagreed with the reasoning. They said the Bruce test as refined by the majority violates equal protection rights because it turns on race, not political affiliation.

Kozinski said the U.S. Supreme Court has stressed that federal regulation of tribes does not equate to federal regulation of the Indian race.

“Damien Zepeda will go to prison for over 90 years because he has ‘Indian blood,’ while an identically situated tribe member with different racial characteristics would have had his indictment dismissed,” Kozinski wrote.

Rob Williams, a University of Arizona law professor, said the cases raises interesting questions about identity, who asserts that identity and what makes someone Indian.

Standards vary among federal agencies that administer benefits to tribes and in the court system about what defines Indians, he said. Some tribes use blood quantum to determine membership, while others require ancestry to be traced to the original rolls.

“This is what is unique about federal Indian law as opposed to other countries,” he said. “There is no uniform definition of who an Indian is.”

Miccosukee Indian School Receives Historic Flexibility to Meet Academic and Cultural Needs of Students

By DOI Media Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced today that the Miccosukee Indian School (MIS) has received flexibility from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), to use a different definition of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) that meets their students’ unique academic and cultural needs. The Miccosukee Indian School in Florida is funded by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

As part of the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative to remove barriers to Native youth success, granting flexibility for the Miccosukee Indian School to define AYP specifically for their students is an important step in making the BIE work better to support individual tribal nations and Native youth. This is the first tribal school to be approved to use a definition of AYP that is different from the state in which it is located, and the flexibility is the first of its kind from the Department of Education.

“The plan that Miccosukee put forward will support culturally-relevant strategies designed to improve college and career readiness for Native children and youth,” said Secretary Duncan. “We believe that tribes must play a meaningful role in the education of native students. Tribal communities are in the best position to identify barriers and opportunities, and design effective, culturally-relevant strategies to improve outcomes for Native students.”

This flexibility builds on the work that MIS has already accomplished through its transition to higher standards and more rigorous assessments, and will allow MIS leaders to further their work to ensure students graduate high school college- and career-ready. MIS serves approximately 150 students in grades kindergarten through 12 and is the only school of the Miccosukee Indian Tribe.

“I applaud Chairman Billie and the Miccosukee Indian School for developing this innovative and culturally-relevant plan for guiding and measuring their students’ academic progress,” said Secretary Jewell. “This flexibility will help the Miccosukee Nation achieve their goal of maintaining a unique way of life, cultural customs and language by transmitting the essence of their heritage to their children. This not only advances Tribal self-determination but can also serve as a model for other tribes within the Bureau of Indian Education school system seeking to achieve the same goal for their students.”

The announcement was made during a ceremony at the Department of the Interior with Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn, BIE Director Dr. Charles ‘Monty’ Roessel, Director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education William Mendoza, Chairman Colley Billie of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, and MIS Principal Manuel Varela.

According to recent U.S. Department of Education statistics, the graduation rate for American Indian students has increased by more than four percentage points over two years, outpacing the growth for all students. The graduation rate for American Indian students increased from 65 percent in 2010-11 to 69.7 percent in 2012-13. Despite these gains, the graduation rate for American Indian students is lower than the national rate of 81 percent.

A 2014 White House Native Youth Report cites Bureau of Indian Education schools fare even worse, with a graduation rate of 53 percent in 2011-12. To address the critical educational needs of these students, the Obama Administration’s Blueprint for Reform, an initiative of the White House Council on Native American Affairs chaired by Secretary Jewell, is restructuring Interior’s BIE from a provider of education to a capacity-builder and education service-provider to tribes.

In addition to reforming the Bureau of Indian Education into a service-provider to tribal schools, the Obama Administration is supporting other efforts to improve educational opportunities for Native communities, through initiatives such as:

Generation Indigenous (Gen-I): focuses on improving the lives of Native youth by removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and opportunities to succeed.

Native Youth Community Projects: provides an estimated $4 million in grants from the Department of Education to help prepare Native American youth for success in college, careers and life as part of Gen-I.

National Tribal Youth Network: supports leadership development and provides peer support through an interactive online portal.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Initiative Guidance: permits states to share FAFSA completion rates with tribes to help Native American students apply for college financial aid as part of President Obama’s FAFSA Completion Initiative.

Later today, Secretary Jewell will convene the sixth meeting of the White House Council on Native American Affairs (Council), formed by Executive Order of the President, to work more collaboratively and effectively with American Indian and Alaska Native leaders to help build and strengthen their communities. Obama Administration Cabinet Secretaries and other senior officials will continue discussions focused on several core objectives for the Council, such as reforming the Bureau of Indian Education, promoting sustainable tribal economic development, and supporting sustainable management of Native lands, environments and natural resources. The discussion will also include follow-up from additional areas of focus based on consultation with tribal leaders.

NDSU student wins largest Native American pageant

 By Grace Lyden,

Cheyenne Brady, a 22-year-old senior at North Dakota State University, was crowned Miss Indian World at the Gathering of Nations powwow on April 25
Cheyenne Brady, a 22-year-old senior at North Dakota State University, was crowned Miss Indian World at the Gathering of Nations powwow on April 25

FARGO — All her life, Cheyenne Brady has watched the annual crowning of Miss Indian World.

“It’s a role I have aspired to being since I was a young girl,” said the North Dakota State University senior. “Granted, I didn’t know the significance then, but when you’re about 7 or 8 and you’re just infatuated with all these girls with the pretty crown, you just want to be them.”

On April 25, that dream came true.

As her family members screamed from the crowd, Brady, 22, was named the winner of the largest and most prestigious pageant for Native American women. She still can hardly believe it.

“Sometimes I want to cry, and then I’m so excited, and then I look at the crown and I’m like, ‘Is this really mine?’ The first few days, I felt like I was in a dream,” she said.

The five-day competition takes place every year at the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, N.M., one of the largest powwows in North America, and includes five categories: essay, interview, public speaking, dance and traditional talent.

“Our tradition is incorporated into every part of the pageant,” said Brady, who is from New Town on the Fort Berthold reservation of western North Dakota. “A big aspect of the pageant is knowing who you are, knowing your culture, knowing your history, knowing a bit of your language.”

Brady is a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, and also represents the Cheyenne, Pawnee, Otoe, Kiowa Apache, Hidatsa, Arikara and Tonkawa tribes.

For her talent, she told a true story about a young girl who was killed carrying a white flag at the Sand Creek massacre of 1864, when the U.S. Army killed about 200 people in a Cheyenne and Arapaho village.

“It was a piece of culture that I feel like is not talked about enough, and that’s why I wanted to present that story,” Brady said.

Out of the 21 contestants, Brady also won the awards for dance and essay — just like the first time she entered, in 2011.

“In the moment, I was like, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve been here before,’ but luckily I did better in the other three (categories),” she said.

When Brady didn’t win as an 18-year-old, she took a step back to learn more about her culture and who she was. Now, she’s ready to inspire others to do the same.

Over the next year, she’ll travel around to speak at conferences and powwows. She’s already booked to speak at a tribal college commencement.

“My primary goal is to encourage Native Americans to be who they are, learn their culture, be excited about it and be anything they want to be,” she said.

In the fall, Brady will start a graduate program at NDSU in American Indian public health.

“My people face many, many health issues,” she said. “Diabetes is an epidemic among Native Americans. If I can make any difference in that area, I’ll feel amazing.”

Native youth kick off Generation Indigenous challenge

By Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Janay Jumping Eagle is on a mission to curb teen suicide in her hometown on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Dahkota Brown of the Wilton Band of Miwok Indians in California wants to keep American Indian and Alaska Native students on track toward graduation.

The teenagers are at the heart of Generation Indigenous, or Gen-I, a White House initiative that kicked off this week with a brainstorming session that happened to coincide with tens of thousands of indigenous people gathering in New Mexico for the Gathering of Nations, North America’s largest powwow.

The Generation Indigenous program stems from a visit last year by President Barack Obama to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Meetings followed, the president called for his cabinet members to conduct listening tours, tribal youth were chosen as ambassadors and a national network was formed.

The goal is to remove barriers that stand in the way of tribal youth reaching their potential, said Lillian Sparks Robinson, a member of the Rosebud Sioux and an organizer of Thursday’s Gen-I meeting.

“This is a community-based, community-driven initiative. It is not something that’s coming from the top down. It’s organic,” she said.

The teens are coming up with their own ideas to combat problems in their respective communities.

For example, a string of seven suicides by teenagers in recent months has shaken Pine Ridge, and close to 1,000 suicide attempts were recorded on the reservation over a nearly 10-year period. Jumping Eagle, a high school sophomore, said her older cousin was one of them.

“That was really devastating. I just wanted to at least try to stop it from happening and I’m still trying,” she said, noting that a recent basketball tournament she organized as part of her Gen-I challenge to bring awareness and share resources with schoolmates was a success.

Brown, 16, said he sees Gen-I as a tool to “shine a light on the positive things that are happening in Indian country rather than all the other bad statistics that go along with being a Native teen.”

From New Mexico’s pueblos to tribal communities in the Midwest and beyond, federal statistics show nearly one-third of Native youth live in poverty, they have the highest suicide rates of any ethnicity in the U.S., and they have the lowest high school graduation rate of students across all schools. And for American Indians and Alaska Natives overall, alcoholism mortality is more than 500 percent higher than the general population.

Federal agencies are working with the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute to pull off Generation Indigenous, and the White House is planning a tribal youth gathering in July in Washington, D.C.

In one of her last tasks before passing on the Miss Indian World crown, Taylor Thomas spoke to Gen-I participants Thursday. She shared with them her tribe’s creation story, which centers on the idea that every animal, plant and person has a purpose. She encouraged the teens to be leaders.

“No matter the difficulties we have in our communities, we have so many bright lights shining from all over Indian country. And when I say that I’m talking about all of you,” she told the crowd of about 300.

Secretary Jewell Celebrates Agreement with Seminole Tribe of Florida to Help Spur Investment, Commercial Development

Tribal leasing regulations foster economic development, represent another step furthering tribal self-determination

Source: U.S. Department of the Interior

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – As part of President Obama’s commitment to empowering American Indian and Alaska Native tribal nations and strengthening their economies, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Michael Black today joined Seminole Tribal Chairman James E. Billie to formally approve tribal leasing regulations that will help spur investment and commercial development on the Seminole Tribe’s reservations.

Upon approval of the tribal regulations by the Department of the Interior, tribes may approve land leases without Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) approval, fostering tribal self-governance in the approval of leases for homes and small businesses in Indian Country.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida will now decide for itself how it wants to do business on its lands – from making it easier for families to buy and build houses to opening businesses in the communities where they have lived for generations,” said Secretary Jewell, who also serves as chair of the White House Council on Native American Affairs. “Today’s agreement will encourage economic development and help create jobs while strengthening tribal sovereignty and self-determination by putting these decisions back in the hands of the tribe.”

Today’s signing ceremony comes on the heels of the White House Tribal Nations Conference held in December 2014, when leaders from all 566 federally recognized tribes were invited to Washington, D.C. to interact directly with the President and senior cabinet and administration officials. The conference – the sixth for the Obama Administration – continues to build on the President’s commitment to strengthen the government-to-government relationship with Indian Country.

“This is an important day for the Seminole Tribe, which will be able to process residential and business leases without the need for BIA approval,” said Chairman Billie. “This authority will allow the Tribe to better serve its members and create new opportunities for economic development on the Tribe’s reservations. We appreciate the Department’s assistance in working with the Tribe through the approval process.”

“Tribal self-determination means the tribe will now decide how its lands may be used for the good of its members and how it wants to do business on its lands,” said BIA Director Black. “The Seminole Tribe’s endeavors contribute to the local, state and regional economies and the tribe’s leasing initiative will further that economic vitality and contribution.”

Tribal council members and several tribal government officials joined Secretary Jewell, Director Black and Chairman Billie during a signing ceremony this morning at Seminole Tribal Headquarters in Hollywood, Florida.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida resides in communities located on six component reservations: Big Cypress, Brighton, Fort Pierce, Hollywood, Immokalee and Tampa. The Tribe expects to use its new authority for business, residential and biomass energy development, as well as for cultural, educational, recreational, spiritual, and other purposes.

Under the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act (HEARTH Act), signed by President Obama in July 2012, federally recognized tribes may develop and implement their own laws governing leasing of federal tribal trust lands for residential, business, renewable energy and other purposes. The law provides that such tribes may lease their lands without federal approval, promoting greater investment in tribal communities and job creation, both of which support tribal self-determination.

The Secretary’s action today brings to 15 the number of federally recognized tribes with leasing regulations approved under the HEARTH Act. An additional 14 tribes have HEARTH Act applications under current review or modification. A full list of approved regulations and additional information about the HEART Act is available HERE.

The HEARTH Act complements a parallel effort Interior undertook to overhaul the BIA regulations that govern its process for approving surface leases on lands the federal government holds in trust for Indian tribes and individuals. As trustee, Interior manages about 56 million surface acres in Indian Country.

The new regulations were finalized in December 2012 and represent the most comprehensive reform of the BIA’s antiquated leasing process. The new regulations fundamentally change the way the BIA does business, providing clarity by identifying specific processes – with enforceable timelines – through which the BIA must review leases. The regulation also establishes separate, simplified processes for residential, business, and renewable energy development, rather than using a “one-size fits all” approach that treats a lease for a single family home the same as a lease for a large wind energy project.

White House Initiative on American Indian/Alaska Native Education, Nov 24

A listening session in Seattle on Monday, November 24th at Daybreak Star, convened by the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. This is an important opportunity to be seen and heard by policymakers who want your input on how to better serve Native students.



American Indian Fry Bread Hints

Fry bread is an incredibly popular food; everyone who tried them loves them. You might love it, but did you know it originated in a painful way?


American Indian Fry Bread
American Indian Fry Bread


Source: Native American Encyclopedia

If you have ever attended a Native American PowWow you have probably noticed vendors selling a large doughy piece of bread called fry bread. Fry bread is an incredibly popular food, very much like an unsweetened funnel cake. American Indian fry bread might seem like a traditional food but it originated in a painful way. The most helpful hint that you can be given about Native American fry bread is to understand how and why this food came about. Native American fry bread may be a symbol of their culture. However, its beginning was steeped in tragedy.


Fry bread was first made approximately 144 years ago after the United States forced the Navajo to complete the “Long Walk,” which was a 300 mile walk where many people lost their lives. These Navajo people were moved to a land that was not fertile for traditional vegetables and beans. They were then forced to live on government canned goods: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, powdered milk and lard. The Navajo people began using what they had and they created fry bread. Fry bread became a symbol of their survival and is always present at PowWows.


Fry bread is made from very simple ingredients. In order to make a dozen fry breads you will need: 2 cups sifted flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon shortening, approximately 1 cup water, and approximately one cup of oil. The recipe, as well as the style of cooking, has remain unchanged.


First sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Then add the shortening — a helpful hint is to use a pastry blender which will help incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. If you don’t have a pastry blender use butter knives. The next step is important, add just enough water to make a soft dough. If you add too much your dough won’t have the right consistency. Knead dough until smooth. Roll dough into small balls. Cover dough with a damp towel for ten minutes. Roll the ball in your hands until each ball flattens into a 4-inch round discs. It is important that you cook the dough in a skillet to keep the right texture of fry bread. Pour oil in the skillet and heat, ensure that you have at least an 1 inch of hot oil. Fry each round of dough until it becomes a light golden brown, turn it over once. The bread will puff up as it fries. Drain the fry bread on a paper towel when it’s done.


Fry bread is delicious by itself or you could serve it a multitude of ways. Drizzle the fry bread with a tiny bit of honey and powdered sugar or just add a little bit of jam. Many people cut a slit through the fry bread and stuff it with different foods including ground beef and beans. Another traditional recipe is the Indian Taco, the fry bread replaces the corn tortilla of a traditional taco. Fry bread is a very good bread but you should be mindful of what you are eating. Remember that this food is a story of resiliency and survival .

How to Research Native American Roots

By Kimberly Powell, Native American Encyclopedia

Whether you want to become an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe, verify a family tradition that you descended from an American Indian, or just want to learn more about your roots, researching your Native American family tree beings just like any other genealogy research – with yourself.

Starting Your Climb Up the Family Tree

Unless you have a large collection of facts on your Indian ancestor, including names, dates, and tribe, it is usually not helpful to begin your search in Indian records. Learn everything that you can about your parents, grandparents, and more distant ancestors, including ancestral names; dates of birth, marriages, and death; and the places where your ancestors were born, married, and died.

Tracking Down the Tribe

During the initial phase of your research, the goal, especially for tribal membership purposes, is to establish and document the relationships of Indian ancestors and to identify the Indian tribe with which your ancestor may have been affiliated. If you’re having trouble finding clues to your ancestor’s tribal affiliation, study the localities in which your Indian ancestors were born and lived. Comparing this with Indian tribes that historically resided in or currently live in those geographical areas may help you to narrow down the tribal possibilities. The Tribal Leaders Directory published by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs lists all 562 federally recognized American Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives in a PDF document. Alternatively, you can access this same information through an easy to browse database of Federally Recognized American Indian Tribes, from the American Indian Heritage Foundation. John R. Swanton’s, “The Indian Tribes of North America,” is another excellent source of information on more than 600 tribes, sub-tribes, and bands.

Bone Up on the Background

Once you’ve narrowed your search to a tribe or tribes, it is time to do some reading on tribal history. This will not only help you understand the traditions and culture of the tribe in question, but also evaluate your family stories and legends against historical facts. More general information on the history of Native American tribes can be found online, while more in-depth tribal histories have been published in book form. For the most historically accurate works, look for tribal histories published by University Press.

Next Step – National Archives

Once you’ve identified the tribal affiliation of your Native American ancestors, it is time to begin research in records about American Indians. Because the U.S. federal government interacted frequently with the Native American tribes and nations during the settlement of the United States, many useful records are available in repositories such as the National Archives. The Native American collection at the National Archives includes many of the records created by branches of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, including annual tribal census rolls, lists relating to Indian removal, school records, estate records, and claims and allotment records. Any American Indian who fought with federal troops may have a record of veteran’s benefits or bounty land. For more information on the specific records held by the National Archives, visit their Native American Genealogy guide or check out “Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians,” compiled by archivist Edward E. Hill.

If you want to do your research in person, most of the main tribal records are stored at the National Archives Southwest Region in Fort Worth, Texas. Even more accessible, some of the most popular of these records have been digitized by NARA and placed online for easy searching and viewing in the Archival Research Catalog (ARC). Online Native American records at NARA include:

  • Index to the Final (Dawes) Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes
  • Index to Applications Submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909 (Guion-Miller Roll)
  • Wallace Roll of Cherokee Freedmen in Indian Territory, 1890
  • Kern-Clifton Roll of Cherokee Freedmen, January 16, 1867
  • 1896 Citizenship Applications

>>Links to the above digitized documents and other online Indian records. Bureau of Indian Affairs

If your ancestors had land in trust or went through probate, the BIA field offices in selected areas throughout the United States may have some records concerning Indian ancestry. However, the BIA field offices do not maintain current or historic records of all individuals who possess some degree of Indian blood. The records the BIA holds are current rather than historic tribal membership enrollment lists. These lists (commonly called “rolls”) do not have supporting documentation (such as birth certificates) for each tribal member listed. The BIA created these rolls while the BIA maintained tribal membership rolls.


Legislation Would Deny Funding To Schools With Unauthorized Native American Mascots




DENVER (CBS4) – Schools that use nicknames based on Native American names or imagery must seek tribes’ permission or lose funding under a bill proposed by a Colorado lawmaker.

Joseph Salazar, a House Democrat from Thornton, said the measure will help get rid of unauthorized mascots at Colorado’s public schools.

“There are people out there who still reside in the world of ignorance or who still reside in the world of being very stubborn,” Salazar said.

He said mascots like the Savages of Lamar High School on the state’s eastern plains are offensive.

A meeting to address the issue will be held at the Denver Indian Family Resource Center on Morrison Road on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

The issues has flared lately on the national level because of the Washington Redskins nickname in the NFL.

Under the legislation, schools like Arapahoe High School in Littleton Public Schools would be exempt because they sought permission.

Arapahoe High School in Littleton sought permission to use Native American imagery. (credit: CBS)
Arapahoe High School in Littleton sought permission to use Native American imagery. (credit: CBS)


“Legislation doesn’t really change attitudes. Instead it changes behavior,” Salazar said. “You want to continue using your racist and your stereotypical imagery? Then we don’t have to fund that.”

A board member of the Colorado Indian Education Foundation says Indian-themed mascots portray Native Americans in a negative light.

“It doesn’t allow for young people or Americans to actually see Indian people are contributors, as contemporary people,” Darius Smith said.

Salazar said he believes there are almost 40 schools in Colorado with an American Indian theme.

“This should be a positive and we’re asking people to open up communication with each other and that should be a natural thing to do,” he said.

The superintendent of the Lamar School District did not immediately return a call for comment.