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Understanding the 1817 Reservation Roll
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Alabama,Arkansas,Georgia,Native American,North Carolina | 1 Comment
The 1817 Reservation Roll is a listing of Cherokee Indians applying for a 640 acre tract in the East in lieu of removing to Arkansas. This was only good during their lifetime and then the property reverted back to the state. To fully understand this roll, please read the Cherokee Treaty of 1817.
The Reservation Roll is of Cherokee families who lived on the East side of the Mississippi River who did not wish to remove to Arkansas. Cherokee head-of-households wishing to remain in the East on a 640 acre plot of land requested enrollment – if their application was approved they would become US Citizens.
If the head-of-household should die, the land would go to their spouse, or child. If the family were to remove afterward the land would revert to the US government. To ensure that all allotted “reservations” were properly settled, the Cherokee applicants would participate in a Reservation Census in June of the following year, 1818.
Those Cherokee not applying to the Reservation Roll were required by the Cherokee Treaty of 1817 to remove to Arkansas. Those Cherokee that removed would also be accounted for in a US Government Census in June of 1818. The government would then have a complete census of the Cherokee people. Most Cherokee that applied for ‘reservations’ were denied, and required to remove to Arkansas under the supervision of a US Government official designated by the same.
An important historical fact concerning the Reservation Roll is that it was the first time land ownership in a tribe was allocated to individuals instead of a tribe as a whole. This was an entirely new thought for the Cherokee People.
And to each and every head of any Indian family residing on the east side of the Mississippi River, on the lands that are now or may hereafter be surrendered to the United States, who may wish to become citizens of the United States, the United States do agree to give a reservation of six hundred and forty acres of land in a square to include their improvements which are to be as near the center thereof as practicable, in which they will have a life estate with a reversion in fee simple to their children reserving to the widow her dower, the register of whose names is to be filed in the office of the Cherokee agent, which shall be kept open until the census is taken as stipulated in the third article of this treaty. Provided, That if any of the heads of families, for whom reservations may be made, should remove there from, then, in that case the right to revert to the United States. And provided further, That the land which may be reserved under this article, be deducted from the amount which has been ceded under the first and second articles of this treaty.
This is only an index of applicants, the people listed here did not in most instances receive the reservation they requested.
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