The 1817 Reservation Roll is a listing of Cherokee Indians applying for a 640 acre tract in the East in lieu of removing to Arkansas. This was only good during their lifetime and then the property reverted back to the state. If the head of the household should die, the land would go to their spouse, or child. If the family were to remove afterward, the land would revert to the US government. To ensure that all allotted "reservations" were properly settled, the Cherokee applicants would participate in a Reservation Census in June of the following year, 1818.
Those Cherokee not applying to the Reservation Roll were required by the Cherokee Treaty of 1817 to remove to Arkansas. Those Cherokee that removed would also be accounted for in a US Government Census in June of 1818. The government would then have a complete census of the Cherokee people. Most Cherokee that applied for 'reservations' were denied, and required to remove to Arkansas under the supervision of a US Government official designated by the state.
An important historical fact concerning the Reservation Roll is that the first time land ownership in a tribe was allocated to individuals instead of a tribe as a whole. This was and entirely new thought for the Cherokee people.