The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of 55,700,000 acres (225,000 km2) of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American Tribes and Alaska Natives.
The BIA is one of two bureaus under the jurisdiction of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs: the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, which provides education services to approximately 48,000 Native Americans.
The BIA’s responsibilities originally included providing health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives. In 1954 that function was transferred to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now known as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), and it is now known as the Indian Health Service.
|Bureau of Indian Affairs|
Seal of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs
Flag of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs
|Formed||March 11, 1824|
|Jurisdiction||Federal Government of the United States|
|Headquarters||Main Interior Building|
1849 C Street, NW Washington, D.C., U.S. 20240
|Parent agency||United States Department of the Interior|
The BIA oversees 567 federally recognized tribes through 4 offices:
Agencies to relate to Native Americans had existed in the U.S. government since 1775, when the Second Continental Congress created a trio of Indian-related agencies. Benjamin Franklin and Patrick Henry were appointed among the early commissioners to negotiate treaties with Native Americans to obtain their neutrality during the American Revolutionary War.
In 1789, the U.S. Congress placed Native American relations within the newly formed War Department. By 1806 the Congress had created a Superintendent of Indian Trade, or "Office of Indian Trade" within the War Department, who was charged with maintaining the factory trading network of the fur trade. The post was held by Thomas L. McKenney from 1816 until the abolition of the factory system in 1822.
The government licensed traders to have some control in Indian territories and gain a share of the lucrative trade.
The abolition of the factory system left a vacuum within the U.S. government regarding Native American relations. The Bureau of Indian Affairs was formed on March 11, 1824, by Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, who created the agency as a division within his department, without authorization from the United States Congress. He appointed McKenney as the first head of the office, which went by several names. McKenney preferred to call it the "Indian Office", whereas the current name was preferred by Calhoun.
In 1832 Congress established the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In 1849 Indian Affairs was transferred to the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1869, Ely Samuel Parker was the first Native American to be appointed as commissioner of Indian affairs.
One of the most controversial policies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs was the late 19th to early 20th century decision to educate native children in separate boarding schools, with an emphasis on assimilation that prohibited them from using their indigenous languages, practices, and cultures. It emphasized being educated to European-American culture.
The bureau was renamed from Office of Indian Affairs to Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1947.
With the rise of American Indian activism in the 1960s and 1970s and increasing demands for enforcement of treaty rights and sovereignty, the 1970s were a particularly turbulent period of BIA history. The rise of activist groups such as the American Indian Movement (AIM) worried the U.S. government; the FBI responded both overtly and covertly (by creating COINTELPRO and other programs) to suppress possible uprisings among native peoples.
As a branch of the U.S. government with personnel on Indian reservations, BIA police were involved in political actions such as:
The BIA was implicated in supporting controversial tribal presidents, notably Dick Wilson, who was charged with being authoritarian; using tribal funds for a private paramilitary force, the Guardians of the Oglala Nation (or "GOON squad"), which he employed against opponents; intimidation of voters in the 1974 election; misappropriation of funds, and other misdeeds. Many native peoples continue to oppose policies of the BIA. In particular, problems in enforcing treaties, handling records and trust land incomes were disputed.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has been sued four times in class action overtime lawsuits brought by the Federation of Indian Service Employees, a union which represents the federal civilian employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs and the Office of the Special Trustee for Indian Affairs. As of 2012 the union is represented by the Law Offices of Snider & Associates, LLC, which concentrates in FLSA overtime class actions against the federal government and other large employers. The grievances allege widespread violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and claim tens of millions of dollars in damages.
Cobell vs. Salazar, a major class action case related to trust lands, was settled in December 2009. The suit was filed against the U.S. Department of Interior, of which the BIA is a part. A major responsibility has been the management of the Indian trust accounts. This was a class-action lawsuit regarding the federal government's management and accounting of more than 300,000 individual American Indian and Alaska Native trust accounts. A settlement fund totaling $3.4 billion is to be distributed to class members. This is to compensate for claims that prior U.S. officials had mismanaged the administration of Indian trust assets. In addition, the settlement establishes a $2 billion fund enabling federally recognized tribes to voluntarily buy back and consolidate fractionated land interests.
The Bureau is currently trying to evolve from a supervisory to an advisory role. However, this has been a difficult task as the BIA is known by many Native Americans as playing a police role in which the U.S. government historically dictated to tribes and their members what they could and could not do in accordance with treaties signed by both.
Commissioners and Assistant Secretaries of Indian Affairs include:
in 1806, an Office of Indian Trade was created within the War Department
The American Indian Scouting Association (AISA) is a joint venture of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). The AISA began as a committee of concerned Boy Scout Scoutmasters in 1956 and was sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
AISA holds an annual seminar, which began in 1957, is run by a volunteer steering committee and is hosted by a local tribe or Indian community designed to attract both Indian and non-Indians to foster understanding of Indian culture and Scouting. Youth participation in this seminar began in 1975.Bureau of Indian Affairs Police
The Bureau of Indian Affairs Police, usually known as the BIA Police, is the law enforcement arm of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs which polices Indian tribes and reservations that do not have their own police force, and oversees other tribal police organizations. BIA Police services are provided through the Office of Justice Services Division of Law Enforcement.In 2004 the agency employed 320 officers.The BIA Police's officers are federal police officers who enforce federal law relating to Indian Country, including Title 16, Title 18, and Title 21 of the United States Code, as well as the Code of Federal Regulations. The BIA has nationwide jurisdiction to enforce federal law relating to crimes committed within or involving Indian Country and officers are usually found near the various Indian reservations. BIA Police officers may enforce tribal law if the tribe consents by deputizing the BIA and its officers. In some cases, BIA Police officers are granted authority to enforce tribal law by tribal ordinance or statute. They may also be granted authority to enforce state laws by state statute.
The BIA has hiring preferences for Native Americans, but will hire nonmembers who have the proper qualifications or educational requirements.Bureau of Indian Affairs building takeover
The Bureau of Indian Affairs building takeover refers to a protest by Native Americans at the Department of Interior headquarters in the national capital of Washington, DC from November 3 to November 9, 1972. On November 3, a group of around 500 American Indians with the American Indian Movement (AIM) took over the Interior building in Washington, D.C. It was the culmination of their cross-country journey in the Trail of Broken Treaties, intended to bring attention to American Indian issues such as living standards and treaty rights. The march had brought to Washington the largest gathering ever of Native Americans and supporters hoping to speak to government officials about their concerns and to gain change to help their peoples.
A group of protesters went to Bureau of Indian Affairs offices at the national headquarters building, intending to negotiate for better housing on reservations and other issues. Protesters began the siege after interpreting a government refusal of their demands as a doublecross. Protesters began to vandalize the building in protest. They were not evicted on the first night. The takeover quickly gained national media attention.
Protesters overturned tables and desks against the windows, fortifying against potential police attack. Some set fires in interior offices and the marble lobbies, destroying many historic documents. The demonstrators started to run out of provisions after several days. They would not allow police or any government representative to approach the building, so two children of BIA employees were recruited to bring in provisions. After a week, the protesters left, some taking documents with them, having caused an estimated $700,000 in damages. Their actions caused loss, destruction, and theft of many records, including important treaties, deeds, and water rights records, which some Indian officials said could set them back 50 to 100 years.While President Richard M. Nixon was preoccupied with achieving re-election in 1972, he had an interest in promoting tribal sovereignty; he had ended the termination of tribes that was part of 1950s policy. Interested in the decentralization of government, he fundamentally agreed that tribes likely could manage some of their operations better than a bureaucracy. He signed a law to restore one tribe to federally recognized status and supported legislation to allow tribes more control over managing programs for their people.Cornfields, Arizona
Cornfields is a chapter of the Navajo Nation and a census-designated place (CDP) in Apache County, Arizona, United States. The population was 255 at the 2010 census.Cornfields is part of the Fort Defiance Agency, of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Ganado, AZ is the delegate seat for the district that encompasses the Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kinlichee, Steamboat communities at the Navajo Nation Council.H. Rex Lee
Hyrum Rex Lee (April 8, 1910 – July 26, 2001) was an American government employee and diplomat who was the last non-elected Governor of American Samoa. Lee served as governor from 1961 to 1967, and again briefly from 1977 to 1978.
Born in Rigby, Idaho, Lee studied agricultural science before working as an economist with the Resettlement Administration. He was then employed by the War Relocation Authority and became assistant chief of the Office of Territories in 1946, until 1950. That year he was appointed as associate (later becoming deputy) commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, where he was noted for his skills as a congressional liaison. In 1961, he was appointed as Governor of American Samoa as part of the incoming Kennedy administration, serving until 1967.
Lee was seen as a successful administrator by both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Following his service in American Samoa, he was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission, where he promoted educational television. He retired in 1973, continuing to promote educational television, but served another term as Governor of American Samoa until the first-ever elected governor assumed office in January 1978.Indian Reservation Roads Program
The Indian Reservation Roads Program (IRR) is part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and is meant to meet the transportation needs of American Indians in the United States, American Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. These roads, also known as BIA Roads are given to tribes by providing funds for planning, designing, construction, and maintenance activities.The program is jointly administered by the Federal Lands Highway Program and the BIA. These roads are public that provide access to and within Indian reservations, Indian trust land, restricted Indian land, and Alaska native villages. Approximately 29,000 miles (47,000 km) are under the jurisdiction of the BIA and tribes and another 73,000 miles (117,000 km) are under State and local ownership.The authorizing legislation is the highway authorization act (currently the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)) and codified in Title 23 U.S.C. and 25 C.F.R. Part 170.The IRR program funds can be used for any type of Title 23 transportation project providing access to or within Federal or Indian lands and may be used for the State/local matching share for apportioned Federal-aid Highway Funds.Indian reservation
An Indian reservation is a legal designation for an area of land managed by a federally recognized Native American tribe under the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs rather than the state governments of the United States in which they are physically located. Each of the 326 Indian reservations in the United States is associated with a particular Native American nation. Not all of the country's 567 recognized tribes have a reservation—some tribes have more than one reservation, while some share reservations. In addition, because of past land allotments, leading to some sales to non–Native Americans, some reservations are severely fragmented, with each piece of tribal, individual, and privately held land being a separate enclave. This jumble of private and public real estate creates significant administrative, political, and legal difficulties.The collective geographical area of all reservations is 56,200,000 acres (22,700,000 ha; 87,800 sq mi; 227,000 km2), approximately the size of Idaho. While most reservations are small compared to U.S. states, there are 12 Indian reservations larger than the state of Rhode Island. The largest reservation, the Navajo Nation Reservation, is similar in size to West Virginia. Reservations are unevenly distributed throughout the country; the majority are west of the Mississippi River and occupy lands that were first reserved by treaty or "granted" from the public domain.Because tribes possess the concept of tribal sovereignty, even though it is limited, laws on tribal lands vary from those of the surrounding area. These laws can permit legal casinos on reservations, for example, which attract tourists. The tribal council, not the local government or the United States federal government, often has jurisdiction over reservations. Different reservations have different systems of government, which may or may not replicate the forms of government found outside the reservation. Most Native American reservations were established by the federal government; a limited number, mainly in the East, owe their origin to state recognition.The name "reservation" comes from the conception of the Native American tribes as independent sovereigns at the time the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Thus, the early peace treaties (often signed under duress) in which Native American tribes surrendered large portions of land to the U.S. also designated parcels which the tribes, as sovereigns, "reserved" to themselves, and those parcels came to be called "reservations". The term remained in use even after the federal government began to forcibly relocate tribes to parcels of land to which they had no historical connection.
Today a majority of Native Americans and Alaska Natives live somewhere other than the reservations, often in larger western cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles. In 2012, there were over 2.5 million Native Americans, with about 1 million living on reservations.Itak, Arizona
Itak is a populated place situated in Pima County, Arizona. Itak means "point of mountain" in the O'odham language. European settlers had referred to this place as Rocky Point at least through the early part of the twentieth century. On September 8, 1939 the Office of Indian Affairs (now Bureau of Indian Affairs) petitioned the USGS to officially recognize the name of the location as Itak, as that was the name preferred by the local residents, and was more historical. On April 10, 1941 the Board on Geographic Names rendered its decision, officially naming the place Itak. It has an estimated elevation of 2,297 feet (700 m) above sea level.John Quincy Smith
John Quincy Smith (November 5, 1824 – December 30, 1901) was an American farmer, politician and legislator from Ohio.List of school districts in South Dakota
This is a list of public school districts in South Dakota, sorted alphabetically. It includes schools run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs but otherwise does not include non-traditional schools and school systems.Makgum Havoka, Arizona
Makgum Havoka, also known as Makumivooka, is a populated place situated on the San Xavier Indian Reservation in Pima County, Arizona. It has an estimated elevation of 1,863 feet (568 m) above sea level. Makum is an O'odham word for black-striped caterpillar, which the O'odham boiled and ate, while havoka is the O'odham word for pond, so the name translates as "caterpillar pond". In 1939 the Bureau of Indian Affairs petitioned the USGS to officially decide between Makumivooka and Makgum Havoka. On April 10, 1941, the Board on Geographic Names issued their decision, officially naming the village Makgum Havoka.Olberg, Arizona
Olberg is a populated place situated in Pinal County, Arizona. The settlement was founded in 1903, and named after Colonel C.R. Olberg, the chief engineer of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and as such supervised the construction of the Coolidge Dam which was built by the BIA. It has an estimated elevation of 1,309 feet (399 m) above sea level.Pueblo
In the Southwestern United States, the term Pueblo refers to communities of Native Americans, both in the present and in ancient times. The first Spanish explorers of the Southwest used this term to describe the communities housed in apartment structures built of stone, adobe mud, and other local material. These structures were usually multi-storied buildings surrounding an open plaza. The rooms were accessible only through ladders lowered by the inhabitants, thus protecting them from break-ins and unwanted guests. Larger pueblos were occupied by hundreds to thousands of Pueblo people. Various federally recognized tribes have traditionally resided in pueblos of such design.Regional designations of Montana
The Regional designations of Montana vary widely within the U.S state of Montana. The state is a large geographical area (147,046 square miles (380,850 km2)) that is split by the Continental Divide, resulting in watersheds draining into the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Hudson's Bay. The state is approximately 545 miles (877 km) east to west along the Canada–United States border and 320 miles (510 km) north to south. The fourth largest state in land area, it has been divided up in official and unofficial ways into a variety of regions. Additionally, Montana is part of a number of larger federal government administrative regions.Rosebud, South Dakota
Rosebud (Lakhota Sicanġu; "Scorched Thigh") is a census-designated place (CDP) in Todd County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 1,587 at the 2010 census.
Rosebud, located on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, is the home to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Headquarters. Rosebud also has many tribal agencies such as the Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Tribal Land Enterprise, Tribal BIA Police, and the Division of Forestry and Wildland Fire Management.Stan Shuatuk, Arizona
Stan Shuatuk is a populated place situated in Pima County, Arizona, just north of the international border with Mexico. Historically, it has also been known as Cervantis Well, La Moralita, Molinitos, Molinton, Molonitos, and Serventi Well. In 1941 the name officially became Stan Shuatuk through a decision by the Board on Geographic Names. The name request came through a request by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, who stated that Stan Shuatuk was "used and understood by the residents and Papagos (Tohono O'odham) in general." In O'odham, stan shuatuk means "hot water". It has an estimated elevation of 1,772 feet (540 m) above sea level.Title 25 of the United States Code
Title 25 of the United States Code outlines the role of Indians in the United States Code.
25 U.S.C. ch. 1 – Bureau of Indian Affairs
25 U.S.C. ch. 2 – Officers of Indian Affairs
25 U.S.C. ch. 2a – Indian Claims Commission
25 U.S.C. ch. 3 – Agreements With Indians
25 U.S.C. ch. 4 – Performance by United States of Obligations to Indians
25 U.S.C. ch. 5 – Protection of Indians
25 U.S.C. ch. 6 – Government of Indian Country and Reservations
25 U.S.C. ch. 7 – Education of Indians
25 U.S.C. ch. 7a – Promotion of Social and Economic Welfare
25 U.S.C. ch. 8 – Rights-Of-Way Through Indian Lands
25 U.S.C. ch. 9 – Allotment of Indian Lands
25 U.S.C. ch. 10 – Descent and Distribution; Heirs of Allottee
25 U.S.C. ch. 11 – Irrigation of Allotted Lands
25 U.S.C. ch. 12 – Lease, Sale, or Surrender of Allotted or Unallotted Lands
25 U.S.C. ch. 13 – Ceded Indian Lands
25 U.S.C. ch. 14 – Miscellaneous
25 U.S.C. ch. 15 – Constitutional Rights of Indians
25 U.S.C. ch. 16 – Distribution of Judgment Funds
25 U.S.C. ch. 17 – Financing Economic Development of Indians and Indian Organizations
25 U.S.C. ch. 18 – Indian Health Care
25 U.S.C. ch. 19 – Indian Land Claims Settlements
25 U.S.C. ch. 20 – Tribally Controlled College or University Assistance
25 U.S.C. ch. 21 – Indian Child Welfare
25 U.S.C. ch. 22 – Bureau of Indian Affairs Programs
25 U.S.C. ch. 23 – Development of Tribal Mineral Resources
25 U.S.C. ch. 24 – Indian Land Consolidation
25 U.S.C. ch. 25 – Old Age Assistance Claims Settlement
25 U.S.C. ch. 26 – Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment
25 U.S.C. ch. 27 – Tribally Controlled School Grants
25 U.S.C. ch. 28 – Indian Education Program
25 U.S.C. ch. 29 – Indian Gaming Regulation
25 U.S.C. ch. 30 – Indian Law Enforcement Reform
25 U.S.C. ch. 31 – Native American Languages
25 U.S.C. ch. 32 – Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation
25 U.S.C. ch. 33 – National Indian Forest Resources Management
25 U.S.C. ch. 34 – Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention
25 U.S.C. ch. 35 – Indian Higher Education Programs
25 U.S.C. ch. 36 – Indian Employment, Training and Related Services
25 U.S.C. ch. 37 – Indian Energy Resources
25 U.S.C. ch. 38 – Indian Tribal Justice Support
25 U.S.C. ch. 38a – Indian Tribal Justice Technical and Legal Assistance
25 U.S.C. ch. 39 – American Indian Agricultural Resource Management
25 U.S.C. ch. 40 – Indian Dams Safety
25 U.S.C. ch. 41 – Indian Lands Open Dump Cleanup
25 U.S.C. ch. 42 – American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform
25 U.S.C. ch. 43 – Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination
25 U.S.C. ch. 44 – Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and TourismWilliam Medill
William Medill (February 1802 – September 2, 1865) was a Democratic politician from Ohio. He served as the 22nd Governor of Ohio from 1853 to 1856.Zachariah Chandler
Zachariah T. Chandler (December 10, 1813 – November 1, 1879) was an American businessman, politician, one of the founders of the Republican Party, whose radical wing he dominated as a lifelong abolitionist. He was mayor of Detroit, a four-term senator from the state of Michigan, and Secretary of the Interior under President Ulysses S. Grant.
As a successful young businessman in Detroit, Chandler supported the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, he advocated for the Union war effort, the abolition of slavery, and civil rights for freed African Americans. As Secretary of the Interior, Chandler eradicated serious corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, fully endorsing President Grant's Peace Policy initiative to civilize American Indian tribes. In 1879, he was re-elected U.S. Senator and was a potential Presidential candidate, but he died the following morning after giving a speech in Chicago.
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Agencies under the United States Department of the Interior