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Q1. What if I do not have a relative that is already enrolled?

A1. You do not need to have any family members enrolled already to apply for membership. You simply must be a direct lineal descendant of one of the base rolls we use to determine membership in the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe.

Q2. Should I send my application and my adult children’s applications in together?
Should I send my application and my parent’s applications in together?

A2. If you are able to do that, yes, it is helpful; however, it is not necessary or mandatory.

Q3. Do I need to send “certified” copies of the documents (birth, death, marriage, baptismal)?

A3. No. Photocopied documents are acceptable. If the Tribal Registrar needs to see the original, she will request it from you.

Q4. What if I cannot find all the documents needed to prove that I have an ancestor on the roll?

A4. While the burden of proof falls on the applicant, we can assist you in finding some of the older documents you might need. You need to supply our office with as much information as possible and we will see what we can do. This takes more time, so your patience is appreciated.

Q5. Once I obtain my membership will my non-Native spouse receive any benefits?

A5. Possibly. Non-Native spouses can be seen at any of the Sault Tribe Health Clinics in our 7-county service area for some procedures; however, there is a co-pay for them to utilize our clinics. Depending on where you live, there could be a tribal health center operated by another tribe that will allow the non-Native spouse to receive services. We do not know which ones do or don’t so you will need to contact them directly.

Q6. Can I use my already enrolled aunt, uncle or cousin’s file documents for my membership application?

A6. Yes, with written permission you can use the information in a relative’s file to help process your application. You can either download and use the “Release of Information” form found on our webpage, or you can simply have them write a letter giving us permission to use their file. They must include the following information when writing a letter: their full name, their date of birth and last four digits of their social security number and the full name of the person they are releasing their file to. They must sign and date it.

Q7. Do I need to take a DNA or blood test to apply for membership?

A7. No. Unless you need to prove paternity or maternity you do not need to have a blood test or DNA test done.

Q8. How long will it take to process my application for membership?

A8. Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received. For the first few months of open enrollment we expect the waiting period to be much longer than normal. If you turn in your application and have not heard from our office within a month you can call us and check on the status of your application. We may receive thousands of applications during the first several months of open enrollment. If so, the waiting period could be up to 6 months. Please be patient during this time.

Q9. How do I get a picture on my tribal membership card?

A9. Pictures are not mandatory. The fastest and easiest way to have a picture added to your tribal ID is to come into our office. We will take the picture there and it will be ready for you in minutes. If that is not an option for you, we also allow you to send in a photo of yourself either by mail or email. You must also provide us with a copy of your driver’s license or state ID so we can be sure it is you. If you submit a picture, it must be a clear photo of you without any background pictures. You cannot wear a hat or sunglasses. If you normally wear glasses, then submit a picture with them on. Do not send group photos.

(If your card is not expired and you want a picture, you must turn in your current card, or you will be charged the $20 replacement fee. A “swap out” is free.)

Q10. What are the names of the base rolls that the Sault Tribe uses and where can I find them?

A10. The base rolls used by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe are:
• The Durant Roll of 1907-1910
• The 1870 Census and Annuity Payment Record for the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan
• The Garden River Annuity Paylist for years 1846 through 1925
• Records concerning land allotments, including patents to the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Indians, or payments of grants or awards
• Any judgment award roll prepared in connection with the distribution of the judgment fund awarded for lands ceded by the Treaty of 1836.

Most of our rolls are listed online. Some are online but can only be viewed on a website that requires a paid membership. You can also purchase a copy of the Durant Roll and 1870 Annuity (in one book) through Heritage Books, Inc. If you live in the area, the rolls should be obtainable at your local library. We do not issue copies of our rolls yet. We hope to scan and have the rolls available on our webpage in the near future.

Other tips from the Enrollment Office:

• Keep your mailing address current with our office! All tribal mailings are originated from the Enrollment database, including election ballots and elder checks. You can change your address via phone, fax, mail or email.

• You can register to vote for Tribal Elections by contacting our office at 800‑251‑6597. We will mail you a voter registration card. If you live within the 7-county service area, you are automatically registered to vote in the unit in which you reside in.

• Minor children under the age of 18 will receive a membership card valid until their 18th birthday. After they turn 18 their cards will expire every 4 years. At the age of 55 you will receive a lifetime card.

• At this time, please do not expect all places to accept your tribal membership card as proof of ID. It is up to the individual business/person whether or not they will accept it. Please keep this in mind when traveling outside the United States or via airplane. Check ahead of time before you assume it will be accepted.

• If you have any questions regarding Enrollment please contact our office directly. Any/all staff can assist you. If we don’t have the answer, we will get it.

• If you are planning to visit ANY of the tribal offices without an appointment please call ahead of time to make sure that office will be open. There are times when offices close to the public for employee training or weather conditions, etc. It’s best to save time and money by calling ahead.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY