Friday, November 26, 2010

Searching for Delaware Native Indians

Where Did They Go?


Algonquians of the East Coast
The Delaware Indians derived from the Delaware River, and originally occupied the state of New Jersey. In general the Delaware Indians moved from New Jersey to Ohio and then they were pushed west of the Mississippi in the 1820’s.

Many Delawares renounced their Native American citizenship as early as 1795.  They, (and other Ohio native American tribes), surrendered most of their Ohio lands with the signing of the Treaty of Greeneville in 1795; and the remaining lands in 1829 when the United States forced the Delawares to relinquish all lands in Ohio and move west of the Mississippi River.

Using Census Records
1860 - The 1860 federal decennial census did not enumerate Native Americans, unless the families renounced their “tribal rule.”  If families were enumerated that would indicate that they were taxed in that community and not a part of a tribal life at the time of the census enumeration. 

Native Americans not living on a reservation or on designated Indian lands in 1860 were identified, often as white, for tax purposes on the census record.

1870 - On the 1870 census there was a specific indicator used to designate American Indians. 

The Delaware Indians were absorbed by the Cherokees (one of the Five Civilized Tribes). Others Delaware Indians who lived in the Cherokee territory may have participated in the “open land runs” or staked and purchased land, or married an Indian Citizen.

1880 - The Dawes Severalty Act, 5 October 1894, provided 160 acres to be given individually to each Native American family, and to slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes.  Many of the Delaware/Cherokee Natives claimed this land, since persons who were authenticated in the 1880 Cherokee Nation citizenship, or earlier, were eligible for these benefits.

It May Be Unlikely
It was unlikely for Native Americans of the Delaware tribe to:
  • not claim their land and government rights as they merged with other Native Americans to include the Cherokee Indians
  • be a part of the Ohio Militia or Iowa Militia, as these groups were formed to fight the American Indians
  • be enumerated as white citizens in the census prior to 1880.  According to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website “few American Indians were included in the Federal census.” This resulted in them not being identified or enumerated between 1790 and 1840. [1]  
 However, all of these sources, although unlikely, should still be checked closely, as well as the Native American rolls listed below.

1.      Dawes Final Roll
2.      Drennen Roll
3.      Reservation Roll (Arkansas Lands)
4.      1896 Census Application
5.      1880 Cherokee Census
6.      Guion Miller Roll
7.      Baker Roll
8.      Kern Clifton Rolls

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

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