The Cherokee nation has voted that only those with ties to the Dawes Role, a 1906 census of Indians are eligible and recognized as Indian.
This means, even if you have an ancestor with Cherokee blood, unless they are listed on that Dawes Role, your status will not be recognized.
Very sad as stories emerge or are collectively found to be the same across scattered decendent generations.Someone recording names from the government is not anymore correct than family records recording names.Not all Cherokee went on the Trail of Tears.Not all Cherokee made it to the reservation as they escaped.History acknowledges these facts over and over... but the Cherokee people will only recognize what the government recorded in 1906.The trail of Tears was 1838.
Remember it was not popular to be "ethnic" and many hid their heritage to avoid persecution back when treaties were being formed or they tried to hide so they would not have to go to a reservation.This was still true up until the 1960's when "white" was the emulated race.
Family members age and tell secrets so their future generations know the truth.In searching for those truths, to link up actual history, I find it sad the Cherokee people want to overlook more than 68 prior years of history.Their history!You would think they would want to know.
Dawes Roll link from the National Archives.Unless your Cotton name, or any other name is here, in the eyes of the Cherokee, Choctaw, or Chickasaw, or the US Government, your not indian.DNA project anyone?