The Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama (CTNEAL) is recognized by the State of Alabama, and has a representative on the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission and the Inter-Tribal Council of Alabama. It is one of nine state-recognized tribes. The federally recognized Cherokee Nation has disputed the validity of this and other state-recognized tribes claiming Cherokee descent.
Official Tribal Name: Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama
Recognition Status: State Recognized
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State(s) Today: Alabama
Tribal Headquarters: Scottsboro, AL
First European Contact:
Population at Contact:
Registered Population Today: About 3,000 members
Tribal Enrollment Requirements:
The Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama requires all potential members to have verifiable Cherokee descent. The rolls are open to any person who can document Cherokee ancestry. It does not require a minimum blood quantum.
In addition to verifiable, lineal descent from a Cherokee ancestor(s), CTNEAL also has a residency requirement for membership. CTNEAL requires that potential members meet at least one of three requirements;
- Reside within the state of Alabama
- Reside within a 500-miles radius of Pinson, Alabama
- Descend from an enrolled CTNEAL citizen who lives/lived within Alabama or the residency radius.
Charter: The tribe was incorporated on December 11, 1980 as the Cherokees of Jackson County. As it grew in membership, it changed its name to the Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama to reflect a larger geographic area.
Name of Governing Body: Tribal Council
Number of Council members:
Dates of Constitutional amendments:
Number of Executive Officers: The tribe elects a Principal Chief, two Vice Chiefs and Tribal Commissioner, as well as representatives to a tribal Council. A Circle of Elders and a Warrior Society also contribute to leadership.
Elections: Elections are held every three years.
Number of fluent Speakers:
Bands, Gens, and Clans
The federally recognized Cherokee Nation opposes recognition of this and 200+ other self-identified “Cherokee” groups, believing them to be fraudulent and without historic basis or true cultural continuity. (They maintain a list of groups which they oppose; most have no type of official recognition from any level of government.)
CTNEAL considers its citizens to be what the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs defines as Category IV Cherokee descendants. As members of a state-recognized tribe, CTNEAL individuals are eligible to participate in organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians. They can identify as Native Americans under the US Indian Arts and Crafts Act when selling crafts or art, but they are not eligible for other federal benefits.
Ceremonies / Dances:
Modern Day Events & Tourism: The tribe hosts two American Indian Festivals each year in Grant, Alabama which are open to the public.
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