The Northern Cherokee Nation (NCN) is not, nor does it claim to be affiliated in the present-day with the Cherokee Nation (formerly Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma aka CNO), the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), or the United Keetowah Band (UKB). The NCN is a non-profit organization and state recognized tribe composed of approximately 14,000 people of Cherokee descent. Most NCN are descendants of those Cherokees who did not emigrate into Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), some of which emigrated prior to the Trail or Tears when the Cherokees were beginning to be pushed west of the Mississippi. If interested, in the additional history of our tribe, please visit the HISTORY section at for an article by Deputy Chief Tawny Eagle.
Where are you located?
The NCN tribal complex is located at 578 E Hwy 7, Clinton, MO.
Do you charge dues?
No, we are not a club and don't ask or require our citizens to pay dues.
Are you part of Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory (NCNOLT) or are they are part of you?
This is a complicated question, in short, no.
In 1983, Beverly Baker aka Beverly Baker Northup and a group of NCN citizens decided to split off to form their own (splinter) group separate from the NCN. When they chose to leave, they cut ties with the NCN and we have had no affiliation with those who chose to split off or later join NCNOLT. Also, since that time many people have contacted the NCN seeking to contact Beverly Baker Northup or people affiliated with the NCNOLT in the past 30+ years. We cannot give any contact information for the NCNOLT because we have none. If you applied/were enrolled with the NCNOLT, you must contact them regarding any information on your application or enrollment.
EDIT June 1st, 2016: We have received word via the "Indian Telegraph" that Beverly Baker passed on in Feb 2016. It still stands as of this time that the NCNOLT have chosen to be a separate splinter entity from the Northern Cherokee Nation. We still have no contact information for anyone associated with the NCNOLT or if there is even a Chief (by election) or interim Chief of the NCNOLT.
KEEP IN MIND: Any group/tribe not able to prove themselves as a separate entity prior to 1900 will NOT be recognized under the federal guidelines as per 83.4 (b) - The Department of the Interior (DOI) will NOT acknowledge: A splinter group, political faction, community, or entity of any character that separates from the main body of a currently federally recognized Indian tribe, petitioner, or previous petitioner unless the entity can clearly demonstrate it has functioned from 1900 until the present as a politically autonomous community...
Do you have a casino?
No, nor do we have plans in the foreseeable future to build one.
Are you federally recognized?
No, not at this time, however we are actively pursuing federal recognition. We have been state recognized in Missouri, since the 1980's. Please visit www.northerncherokeenation.com for updates on this process and/or come to our monthly open council meetings at our tribal complex (dates posted on website and Facebook). Also see our "FEDERAL RECOGNITION" on this page, in the note section.
I thought all Indians were members of tribes?
This is a common misconception
Not all Native Americans are citizens of Native American tribes, some by choice (or other personal reasons), some by other legal reasons, and still some by reasons of blood quantum.
There are approximately 350,000 FEDERALLY recognized Cherokee citizens, BUT it is estimated there are at least 875,000 (non-federally recognized) Cherokee in the U.S., some belong to state recognized tribes, some don't.
Where is your reservation?
The NCN does not have a reservation (which is defined as land given to a Native tribe by the federal government). We do have tribal grounds where we hold our annual homecoming pow-wow (3rd weekend in September) and monthly open public council meetings.
My great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess...
Historically, the Cherokee never had the title of "princess". This is a concept based on European folktales and has no reality in Cherokee history and culture. Europeans may have mistaken the daughter of a Chief as a Princess (similar to the daughter of a King) but this was not a part of Cherokee culture. Some present-day nations or hosts of pow-wows choose to have Nation, Pow-Wow, or Organizations Princesses (sometimes Junior or Senior Princess) but this is a modern development.
I was told I was Cherokee, how do i prove it?
This is a complicated question. The first step would be to fill out a family tree chart (many are available online) with as much information as possible (either through personal knowledge, documents, or personal knowledge of other relatives). The second is to find (or hire a certified genealogist, familiar with Native genealogy to find) an ancestor on one of the MANY Cherokee rolls (about 66) or on another Nations roll listed as Cherokee. For example: You may find a Cherokee on a Creek roll, this is not uncommon as census takers often listed them on the same roll if they were living in that district. Third, would be to prove they were your ancestor by a direct (lineal) descent through documentation (birth certificates, death certificates etc.)
Note: Finding a Cherokee ancestor on a roll does NOT automatically qualify you for citizenship in CNO, ECBI, or UKB. Contact these individual tribes for more information on their enrollment requirements.
Is enrollment closed?
AS OF SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2015: NEW ENROLLMENT WILL BE SUSPENDED WHILE WE ARE WAITING FOR OUR FEDERAL RECOGNITION PROPOSAL TO BE PROCESSED BY THE BIA/DOI. WE DO NOT KNOW IF OR WHEN ENROLLMENT WILL REOPEN. AS OF JAN 1ST, 2016, ENROLLMENT OF DESCENDANTS IS SUSPENDED, THIS WILL REOPEN BUT AGAIN WE DO KNOW KNOW A DATE AT THIS TIME.
Long ago all Cherokee children were given Cherokee names, often by their maternal grandmothers (sometimes by other older female members of their clan). In traditional Cherokee homes, this still may be true. Maternal grandmothers may also choose to give their grandchildren an English name as well. In the cases where this is not possible (either because a grandmother is not Cherokee or is not living), a clan mother or a grandmother (honorific term) of the clan will give a name to a child. If you do have not have a Cherokee name, if possible, ask a Cherokee Elder in your family if there is a name suitable for you. When a person becomes a citizen of NCN, they then become eligible to request a Cherokee name from the NCN. Within the modern day NCN, the naming ceremony is typically performed by the Principal Chief (for adults) or Deputy Chief (for infants) In a special ceremony at our Nation's Headquarters. After the naming ceremony, the child is presented to the Nation with their new name and a small gift is given to the person performing the ceremony.
Is there such a thing as a traditional Cherokee wedding ceremony?
Yes! Both our Principal Chief and Deputy Chief (who are both registered and certified ministers) have performed legally binding weddings for a nominal fee in both Missouri and Oklahoma. If you wish to have a Cherokee wedding ceremony performed, please contact them or this page for more information.
I'm a NCN citizen and I'm an artist who makes/creates my own art (jewelry, paintings etc.) can i sell my art as Native made?
Yes! The US Department of the Interior explicitly states on its informational website about the Act that, "Under the Act, [The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990] states in that " an Indian is defined as a member of any federally or State recognized Indian Tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian Tribe." In Section 309.2, the Act defines an "Indian tribe" as: (1) Any Indian tribe, band, nation, Alaska Native village, or any organized group or community which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians; or (2) Any Indian group that has been formally recognized as an Indian tribe by a State legislature or by a State commission or similar organization legislatively vested with State tribal recognition authority.
For a first time violation of the Act, an individual can face civil or criminal penalties up to a $250,000 fine or a five-year prison term, or both. If business violates the Act, it can face civil penalties or can be prosecuted and fined up to $1,000,000.
If I'm a citizen, will I get a check every month?
In short, no. This is a common misconception of those ignorant of modern-day Native culture. In the past, some Native tribes did distribute cash or send money monthly to their citizens, but few tribes still do this. In present day, most tribes distribute any money they receive to fund services for all the citizens of their nation (the same way the U.S. distributes money paid in taxes to fund roads, bridges, and other expenses).
Will NCN pay off my debts, help me build a house, or pay my taxes?
No, like everyone else, you have to take care of these things yourself.
Will NCN pay for my education? Do you have grants or scholarships?
We do not have or sponsor any programs for education at this time, however depending on the particular school, grant and/or scholarship and their qualifications (if you are a citizen of NCN) you may be eligible for some of those grants and/or scholarships as a citizen of a state recognized tribe. This programs and/or funds are not guaranteed however and you should plan your fiances accordingly. We do not endorse any particular program, school, or grant/scholarship.
Regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978: April 28, 2015
Recently, your Northern Cherokee Nation offices have been receiving several calls from Family and Children Services in different states wanting to know if this or that child is enrolled as a citizen of the Northern Cherokee Nation. The reason they are calling is due to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law that seeks to keep American Indian children with American Indian families. Congress passed ICWA in 1978 in response to the alarmingly high number of Indian children being removed from their homes by both public and private agencies. The intent of Congress under ICWA was to “protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families” (25 U.S.C. § 1902). ICWA sets federal requirements that apply to state child custody proceedings involving an Indian child who is a member of or eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe.
Currently, since we are a state recognized tribe, the Northern Cherokee Nation does not fall under this particular piece of legislation.
While our hearts ache for the problems of Native families and children that are caught in the cross fire of disagreements, and custody battles, the Northern Cherokee Nation will not be able to assist you at this time, and we are unable to advise you on any legal matters.
While our Northern Cherokee Nation offices receive dozens of calls each week, most are non-citizens wondering how to enroll. Of course, we refer them to our website www.northerncherokeenation.com because it will answer 99% of their questions.
Some calls are from members of other groups wanting to know the difference in our Nation and others trying to represent themselves as the Northern Cherokee Nation, we also refer them to our website or our Facebook page for the majority of those answers.