How Native American Adoptees Can Unseal Their Birth Records in California?
Tribal enrollment criteria are defined by each tribe, but in almost all cases the tribe requires that the enrollment applicant demonstrate that they are a descendant of a person (living or deceased) who is enrolled or recognized as a member of the tribe. If you were adopted you may not know who your biological parents were or whether they were members of a tribe.
This Birth Records Self-Help Kit (pdf) guide explains what you need to do if you were adopted and you think you are Native American and you live in California and/or were born in California and you want to enroll in your tribe.
Note: This link opens the entire 132-page booklet. Some users have experienced problems when using certain browsers such as Mozilla. Depending upon the browser you are using you may wish to download individual sections of the booklet for faster access.
- Disclaimer and Table of Contents
- Section 1: Some Basic Things You Need to Know Before You Get Started
- Section 2: What Do I Need to Know Before I File My Petition?
- Section 3: How Do I Fill Out the Forms?
- Section 4: What Do I Do After I Fill Out the Forms?
- Section 5: What Happens After My Petition Has Been Accepted for Review?
- Section 6: How Do I Apply to Enroll in My Tribe?
- Section 7: Resources
- Section 8: Forms
Much of the information contained in this handout pertains solely to individuals tracing their ancestry to California tribal groups. This information is not meant as a guide for those tracing their ancestry from tribes outside of California. While the information is specific to California, the general scope of the information and your particular family’s history may not reflect the experience of the majority of California Native families.
The guide may be found at the U.S. Department of the Interior’s page on “Tracing Indian Ancestry” http://www.doi.gov/tribes/trace-ancestry.cfm