by Craig R. Scott, CG
President Grover Cleveland appointed a commission to negotiate land with the Native American tribes in 1893. The Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes is commonly referred to as the Dawes Commission, after Henry L. Dawes, its chairman. Members of the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole tribes were entitled to an allotment of land in return for abolishing their tribal governments and recognizing Federal law. The commission accepted applications between 1896 and 1914 from these five tribes to establish eligibility. The initial enrollment of 1896 was declared invalid and applicants had to reapply in 1898. Originally, the application process ended in 1907, but an act of Congress in 1914 accepted a few additional names. The lists created by the commission of accepted persons are commonly known as the "Dawes Rolls." Their proper name is the "Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory."
These records have also been referred to as the "Dawes Rolls," the "Dawes Enrollment Applications," and the "Dawes Enrollment Jackets."
The Dawes Packets are contained within the following record group: Record Group 75: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1793-1989.