Tribal enrollment requirements preserve the unique character and traditions of each tribe. The tribes establish membership criteria based on shared customs, traditions, language and tribal blood.
Tribal enrollment criteria are set forth in tribal constitutions, articles of incorporation or ordinances. The criterion varies from tribe to tribe, so uniform membership requirements do not exist.
Two common requirements for membership are lineal decendency from someone named on the tribe's base roll or relationship to a tribal member who descended from someone named on the base roll. (A "base roll" is the original list of members as designated in a tribal constitution or other document specifying enrollment criteria.) Other conditions such as tribal blood quantum, tribal residency, or continued contact with the tribe are common.
After you have completed your genealogical research, documented your ancestry, and determined the tribe with which your ancestor was affiliated, you are ready to contact the tribe directly to obtain the criteria for membership.
Rarely is the BIA involved in enrollment and membership. Each tribe determines whether an individual is eligible for membership. Each tribe maintains it's own enrollment records and records about past members. To obtain information about your eligibility for membership, you must contact the tribe.
The Tribal Leaders Directory that is published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs lists all 574 federally recognized American Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives. It also lists all the Regions, Agencies and Offices within the BIA.