Baker Roll, a Census of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Created

On June 4, 1924, the United States Congress passed an act aimed at terminating the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.  Indian Agent Fred A. Baker was tasked with preparing an official roll of all members of the Eastern Band. The roll anticipated a final allotment of land and granting of United States citizenship to the Indians. Now known as the Baker Roll, it was to be the final conclusive list of the Band’s membership.

Baker visited Indian households, much like a census-taker, and recorded information on each individual including name, birth date and the degree of Eastern Cherokee blood. Controversies arose due to the number of people included on the roll and the amount of land that could be allotted to each. Cherokees were also facing difficulties registering to vote—clerks refused to acknowledge citizenship until the allotment issue was resolved.

Ultimately the Indians decided that it was prudent to keep the tribal lands in trust with the government, and, in 1931, Congress voted not to act on the tribal assets.  The Baker roll was amended, with many people of questionable descent removed.  The roll stands today as paramount to being acknowledged as a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

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