According to the most recent census, the Navajo Nation consists of over 330,000 enrolled tribal members across Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, making it the second-largest tribal population in the United States, after the Cherokee Nation. Because membership criteria varies from tribe to tribe, there are no hard-and-fast, uniform membership requirements, though generally a person must be at least 1/4 Navajo and able to provide proof of Navajo ancestry.
While the following steps come recommended by the Navajo Nation's Washington Office, contacting the office directly should be the first step on your journey.
Gather vital records about your family in order to conduct a trace of your Navajo ancestry. These records include the names of ancestors, their dates of birth, marriages and deaths, the places they lived, their brothers and sisters, and their tribal affiliation.
Reach out to the National Archives and Records Administration and the U.S. Department of the Interiors Division of Tribal Government Services to help locate documents and establish a line of Navajo ancestry.
A Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) from the Bureau of Indian Affairs may help expedite the process. To get one, fill out and send the BIA's request form along with a certified copy of your birth certificate and copies of your parents' and grandparents' birth or death certificates.
Determine whether your ancestors are on an official tribal roll or census (the original list of tribal members listed in the Navajo constitution) by contacting the National Archives and Records Administration or the Tribal Enrollment branch of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Contact the tribe directly once you have acquired the proper documents in order to find out if they have records of your ancestors. Likewise, membership will only be given by contacting the Navajo Nation as detailed membership criteria are set forth in the Navajo tribal constitution. You can find contact information at navajo.org, or reach the Navajo Nation's Washington Office at (928) 871-6386 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Joshua Wade has been a freelance writer since 2006. Wade's poetry and short fiction have appeared in "The Frequent and Vigorous Quarterly" and "The Litter Box Magazine." He has also written for various online publications. Wade attended West Virginia University where he studied English and creative writing.