TULSA-The Cherokee Nation and leaders from Tulsa’s African-American community have announced a joint outreach program to provide genealogy research to anyone who believes they are eligible for Cherokee citizenship. The outreach program is open to individuals of all races and nationalities who believe they have Cherokee ancestry, and wish to apply for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation.
In partnership with the Area Council for Community Action (ACCA), the Cherokee Nation will provide individuals genealogy research and direction in gathering the documentation needed to become an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
"We realize that the Cherokee Nation requires citizens to have an Indian ancestor on the Dawes Roll, but we also know there may be many African-Americans who are eligible for citizenship but have not enrolled, for whatever reason," said Pleas Thompson, President of ACCA. "This partnership will help eligible people of any race to find the documentation they need to show an Indian ancestor on the rolls and become a citizen of the Cherokee Nation."
The Cherokee Nation offers some genealogical services through the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, but this is the first time such services will be offered on a regular basis in the Tulsa area.
"The Cherokee Nation is taking the lead in reaching out to the community, to make sure that people of Indian ancestry have every opportunity to be enrolled as citizens," Thompson said. "A partnership like this can be something that helps the entire community."
"The need for this kind of service is very real," said Heather Williams, a Cherokee citizen who also has African-American ancestry. "When my family was trying to locate our ancestors on the Dawes Rolls, it took quite some time to gather the information. Having a service available like this would help tremendously."
"We know that for some people, the process of tracing your family tree back more than 100 years can be difficult, and there are roadblocks that can be discouraging," said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. "This partnership will make it easier for people in the Tulsa area to get through the enrollment process a little easier. ACCA has a long history of helping the community and will be a great partner in this outreach effort."
The services will be available at 205 E. Pine Street Suite #3 inside the North Pointe Business Complex in Tulsa. Genealogical assistance will be available from 9 a.m. to noon (appointments preferred), as well as at other events and times as scheduled by ACCA to properly meet the needs of the community. For more information on the services or to make an appointment for general assistance, contact ACCA at (918) 592-1339.