There are many ways. Two of which are a ‘paper trail’ and, a ‘DNA’ test. The paper trail is the least expensive but the most time intensive. It may take years to find and organize a paper trail in order to gain Native American Indian recognition and tribal enrollment. The Native American DNA test although much quicker (generally 8 to 12 weeks) is expensive.
The search for Native American heritage is a matter of your time or your money, and in some instances both.
For the ‘paper trail’ you must check census records, historical tribal enrollments, and sometimes be familiar with the Native language. For a DNA test, you must simply contact a DNA agency and participate in the collection your DNA for evaluation. But, it should be noted that most Native American tribes will not accept DNA evaluations for recognition and tribal enrollment. Thus, a paper trail is the one sure way of recognition and tribal enrollment.
Why is recognition and tribal enrollment important? Well, to some it is a matter of bringing closure to the status of the rumors they have heard from childhood of having “Indian” ancestry. To others it is a commemoration to their ancestors. It brings honor to their ancestors by reclaiming their heritage.
If you want tribal recognition and enrollment, then seek the ‘paper trail’. If you want to satisfy your own personal curiosity or bring closure to whether your ancestry included Native American ancestry then seek a DNA evaluation. The choice is yours.
Article by: CherokeeCloud
Written: August 22, 2006