Glossary of American Indian Terms
There are terms which are somewhat unique to American Indian research. Some are common terms with meanings unique to Indian research. This is an attempt to define some of those terms.
Glossary of American Indian Terms
Agency -- the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, usually responsible one or more tribes residing on a reservation
Allotment Record -- the policy of the federal government was to allot land on a reservation to individuals; the records of these allotments provides information about the individual and the family relationships
Annuity Rolls --an annual payment to a tribe, and later to individuals, as stipulated by most treaties
Area Office -- an administrative office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the United States.
Band -- a subdivision of a tribe
BIA -- The Bureau of Indian Affairs in the United States.
Cherokee by Blood
Commissioner of Indian Affairs --
Dawes Commission - The U.S. Congress approved the act on March 3, 1893. The purpose was to negotiate treaties with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole Indian tribes. The aim was to divide tribal land into plots which were then distributed to approved members of the tribe.
Dawes Roll -- the enrollment record for the Five Civilized Tribes, compiled between 1895 and 1914.
Enrollment Records -- the federal government wanted to classify all Indians into a tribe for the purpose of negotiating treaties with the various Indian tribes. One example is the Dawes Commission.
Factory -- another name for a trading post; the name was used primarily in the United States between 1800 and 1825.
Five Civilized Tribes --a loose federation of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes formed in 1859 in what is now Oklahoma
Freedman -- term applied to African-American slaves held by members of the Five Civilized Tribes, or former slaves who lived among them
General Allotment Act of 1887 -- An Act passed by the United States government by which specific parcels of land were allotted to individual Indians on many of the reservations.
Guion Miller rolls
School records, Indian
Nation -- after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, a term often used to mean a tribe which had organized under that Act
Office of Indian Affairs -- the forerunner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Rancheria -- a term used almost exclusively in California for a small reservation, often to describe a parcel of land purchased by a tribe and subsequently recognized by the federal or state government.
Removal -- an official U.S. government policy in the early to mid-1800s, intended to remove American Indians from areas where conlfict between them and non-Indian settlers may have arisen.
Reservation -- a parcel of land reserved by the United States government upon which a tribe or tribes were to reside.
Subagency -- an office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs usually under the jurisdiction of an agency, serving a smaller jurisdiction than the agency.
Superintendency -- an office under the U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, usually covering a specific locality, including a supervisory role over agencies and subagencies in that locality.
Treaties -- agreements between governments and Indian tribes. There are treaties between tribes and the:
- U.S. government
- Canadian government
- British government
Tribe -- a term applied by non-Indians to a group of Native Americans, usually of a common linguistic or cultural stock