- Lani Hansen
Tribal Enrollment discusses membership process
Updated: Aug 9, 2018
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokees seeking membership with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians will find marked differences in eligibility requirements than with those required by the Cherokee Nation or the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
To be eligible for UKB membership, Cherokees must provide documentation of descendancy from an individual listed on the 1949 United Keetoowah Band Base Roll or on the final Dawes Roll. A Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood showing ancestry and at least one-fourth Keetoowah Cherokee blood quantum is required in an 8.5 by 11 format.
Additionally, applicants must provide a letter or affidavit stating they are not enrolled with another tribe, band or nation. If an individual has been affiliated with another but never been a UKB member, they must provide a relinquishment letter from that tribe’s enrollment office.
The proper paperwork must be submitted to the UKB Registrar Amanda Stopp before the 20th of each month so that she can generate a report for UKB Secretary Joyce Fourkiller.
“Amanda fixes the report and then I address the report to the Enrollment Committee,” said Fourkiller. “The enrollment committee goes through all that. They're the ones that verify all the documentation.”
Once the Enrollment Committee approves an application, Fourkiller presents the information to UKB Chief Joe Bunch and the Tribal Council during its regular monthly meeting.
If approved, new members 21 and older will receive a tribal identification card with their photograph. Approved members 20 years of age and younger will receive a paper citizenship card.
Membership is also possible for former UKB members who relinquished their membership, but only by providing proof of an extreme circumstance such as denial of housing, work or medical care services with another tribe.
“You have to have an extreme burden of proof for you to come back,” said Fourkiller. “The burden of proof is like saying the other tribe promised housing, but it didn't happen. If you had proof like that, you were granted to come back. You have one chance.”
Members approved for reinstatement by the Tribal Council are issued a new enrollment number and enrollment date.
Fourkiller added it is to the benefit of a member not to be dually enrolled with the Cherokee Nation or the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, as many UKB services and programs require or give first preference to members that are exclusively UKB.
UKB has nearly 14,000 enrolled members. For more information, contact Tribal Enrollment at 918-871-2797.