What Percentage of Native American Do You Have To Be To Enroll With a Tribe?

What Percentage of Native American Do You Have To Be To Enroll With a Tribe?

What percentage of Native American blood do you need to be in a tribe?

How much American Indian blood is required to be considered Native American?

Native ancestry is a nuanced topic. Many people with Native American ties often wonder whether they have enough American Indian blood or a strong enough Native heritage to be considered for tribal enrollment.

But how do you know for sure?

We'll break it down for you here.

Check out our calculator below to find your %!

Native Americans are the people who contain blood one of the more than 500 distinguished tribes that still endure as sovereign states within the United States’ present geographical boundaries. These are the Native American tribes that descended from the pre-Colombian indigenous peoples of North America.

Am I Native American?

For a person to be considered Native American by the United States government, they must either have a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card or be enrolled in a tribe.

A CDIB card is issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) an agency under the United States Department of Interior. This certificate (CDIB) is the basis most tribes use to enroll tribal members.

The CDIB is an official U.S. document used to certify that a person does possess a percentage of Native American blood and therefore has legitimate Native ancestry. Note though, the blood must be identified with a federally recognized Native American tribe.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs issues the certificate after the individual has forwarded a finalized genealogy.

The genealogy must be submitted with legal documents that include birth certificates, and documents showing the applicant’s descent both from the maternal and the paternal sides.

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Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card issued to Morris Phillip Konstantin (Phil Konstantin) in 1996. It shows him to be 3/16ths Cherokee by blood. – Wikipedia


A Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood shows the constituent blood degree of a particular tribe or that of all tribes in the applicant’s ancestry. The percentage required by each tribe to enroll varies. Some tribes require that a minimum degree must be met before granting membership to an individual.

Interestingly, even the federal government requires that you meet a certain minimum before granting Native Americans federal benefits.

To give you an example, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians requires a minimum of 1/16 degree of Cherokee Indian blood for tribal enrollment, while the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Higher Education Grant expects you to have a minimum of 1/4 Native American blood percentage.

That means 25% of your blood is of Native American ancestry.

Tribal Blood Quantum Calculator and Requirements

A Blood Quantum Calculator can also be helpful in certain instances. This will help you zero in on the origin of your American Indian heritage. where here you got the Native American heritage from. The calculations are translated as:

For instance, if you are 50% Native American or half blood quantum, that means you have one parent who's of direct American Indian lineage / Half Blooded Quantum meaning One Parent

If you are 25% American Indian or one-quarter blood quantum, that means you have one grandparent who's of direct Native American lineage. 

The same conversion rate applies as you go further down the line. If you are 12.5% American Indian or one-eighth blood quantum, you have one great-grandparent.

If you are 6.25% or one-sixteenth blood quantum, you have one great-great-grandparent, and so on. 

Below is a list of some tribal requirements.  This is not a comprehensive list, just a sampling of the more than 500 federally recognized tribes.

Native American Tribal Enrollment Requirement

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50 Percent / One-Half Blood Quantum (One Parent)

Kialegee Tribal Town
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Mississippi
St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
White Mountain Apache Tribe, Arizona
Yomba Shoshone Tribe, Utah

25 Percent / One-Fourth Blood Quantum (One Grandparent)

Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Native American Indians
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Washington
Oneida Tribe of Indians, Wisconsin
Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma
Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Arizona
Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Kansas
Navajo Nation, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico
Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, North and South Dakota
Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe, California
Havasupai-Prescott Tribe, Arizona
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Oklahoma
Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, Montana
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, New York, Canada

12.5 Percent / One-Eighth Blood Quantum (One Great-Grandparent)

Apache Tribe, Oklahoma
Comanche Nation, Oklahoma
Delaware Nation, Oklahoma
Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Reservation, Oregon
Fort Sill Apache Tribe, Oklahoma
Karuk Tribe, California
Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation, Washington
Northwestern Band of Shoshoni Nation of Utah (Washakie)
Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Native American Indians, Oklahoma
Pawnee Nation, Oklahoma
Ponca Nation, Oklahoma
Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma
Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska
Squaxin Island Tribe of the Squaxin Island Reservation, Washington
Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Washington
Three Affiliated Native American Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation
Upper Skagit Indian Tribe of Washington
Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Wichita, Keechi, Waco and Tawakonie)

6.25 Percent / One-Sixteenth Blood Quantum (One Great-Great-Grandparent)

Caddo Nation
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon
Fort Sill Apache Tribe
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma
Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, North Carolina

Lineal Native American Descent

Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town
Cherokee Nation
Chickasaw Nation
Choctaw Nation
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Delaware Tribe of Indians
Eastern Shawnee Tribe
Kaw Nation
Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut
Miami Tribe of Oklahoma
Modoc Tribe
Muscogee Creek Nation
Osage Nation
Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma
Peoria Tribe of Indians
Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan
Seminole Nation
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma
Shawnee Tribe
Thlopthlocco Tribal Town
Tonkawa Tribe
Wyandotte Nation

32 Comments

Norma Worley

I don’t meet the criteria to become a Cherokee but my 7th great grandfather was Sharp as a Fox from the North Carolina Cherokee. I’m very proud of this connection.

Mary

My father came out 40% Apache after he had his DNA test. He passed away already. I haven’t updated my test yet but I doubt I have 20%.

Charlene Kling

My father told my grandmother on my father’s side was Potawatomi from Michigan

Keith

My mother always told me she was Comanche but now that she is no longer with us what would one do I actually don’t care about Proven my bloodline more like to know how to learn about my ancestry

Tina C

How can I tell which tribe I might be from? My DNA points to an area in Mexico.

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