The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) is a unit of the United States Department of the Interior that oversees federal administration of several United States insular areas. It is the successor to the Bureau of Insular Affairs of the War Department, which administered certain territories from 1902 to 1939, and the Office of Territorial Affairs (formerly the Division of Territories and Island Possessions and then the Office of Territories) in the Interior Department, which was responsible for certain territories from the 1930s to the 1990s. The word "insular" comes from the Latin word insula ("island").
Currently, the OIA has administrative responsibility for coordinating federal policy in the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and oversight of federal programs and funds in the freely associated Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.
The OIA, led by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas, currently Douglas Domenech, also has jurisdiction of "excluded areas" of Palmyra Atoll and "residual administration" of Wake Island.
Relations between the United States and Puerto Rico are coordinated between the Office of the Deputy Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, not the OIA.
|Office of Insular Affairs|
Seal and Logo of the Office of Insular Affairs
|Formed||September 14, 1934|
|Jurisdiction||United States federal government|
|Headquarters||Main Interior Building|
1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240
|Annual budget||$597 million (2015)|
|Parent agency||Department of the Interior|
The office has evolved over the years along with changes in administration and in United States territories.
Prior to the 1930s, responsibility for administration of United States possessions was divided among several government departments. Alaska and Hawaii were under the Interior Department; Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands were administered by the Bureau of Insular Affairs in the War Department; and the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa were administered by the United States Department of the Navy.
The Division of Territories and Island Possessions, from 1934 to 1950 was responsible for administering the Interior Department's responsibilities over the territories and island possessions of the United States that were consolidated into the Interior Department. Under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior, the Division served as a mediator between the territories and Federal government by performing administrative activities for the territorial governments and taking on colonization projects that furthered the interests of the United States in those areas.
The Division was established within the Interior Department on May 29, 1934 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 6726 pursuant of the Economy Act of March 20, 1933 which required the President to reorganize the Executive branch. The Executive Order transferred the administrative functions over Puerto Rico from the Bureau of Insular Affairs War Department to the newly formed division.
On February 13, 1936 by Secretary Order 1040, the Division was assigned responsibilities from the Interior Department over territorial affairs in Alaska, the Alaska Railroad project, the Alaska Road Commission, and the jurisdiction over the Hawaiian Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In May 1936 and March 1938 by Executive Order 7368 and Executive Order 7828, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Canton Island, and Enderbury Island were placed under the Interior Department and assigned to the Division.
On July 1, 1939, the Bureau of Insular Affairs War Department and its functions, including its administrative responsibilities over the Philippine Islands was transferred to the Interior Department and consolidated with the Division by the Reorganization Plan No. II of 1939.
In 1943 the Division was reorganized into three geographic and two functional branches: Hawaii and the Philippine Islands, Alaska, and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Legal, and Administrative.
In 1949, the Division's administrative responsibilities were expanded to include Guam by Executive Order 10077 and made effective July 1, 1950 by Executive Order 10137. In 1950, the Office of Territories was established and the functions of the Division were transferred to the Office by the Secretarial Order No. 2577.
The first Director of Territories was Ernest Gruening, who served from 1934 to 1939, and later served as the territorial governor of Alaska and then as one of the first senators elected from Alaska upon statehood.
The major publication from the Division is the Annual Reports of the Department of the Interior that has a section on the Division of Territories and Island Possessions written by the Director outlining the Division's activities over the past fiscal year. Additionally, the Division published general information serial pamphlets on Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii, and later general information on the Trust Territory. The Division also published specific reports pertaining to Alaska's postwar period and road and agricultural development efforts, as well as a report on surplus property of its administrative areas.
In 1950, the Division's name was changed to the Office of Territories and the office's work was significantly reduced in 1952 after Puerto Rico attained commonwealth status and in 1959 Alaska and Hawaii were granted statehood.
In 1971, the Office of Territories was temporarily abolished and administration was coordinated by a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Territorial Affairs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Land Management. In 1973, the agency was reconstituted as the Office of Territorial Affairs, which remained the designation until 1980, when an Office of Assistant Secretary for Territorial and International Affairs was created. (The designation "international" refers to what became the freely associated states of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau.)
Today, the Interior Department, through the Office of Insular Affairs, continues to be responsible for the outlying insular areas including American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Colonial Office is the government agency which serves to oversee and supervise their colony
Colonial Office - The British Government department
Office of Insular Affairs - the American government agency
Reichskolonialamt - the German Colonial OfficeCompact of Free Association
The Compact of Free Association (COFA) is an international agreement establishing and governing the relationships of free association between the United States and the three Pacific Island nations of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau. These nations, together with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, formerly composed the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a United Nations trusteeship administered by the United States Navy from 1947 to 1951 and by the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1951 to 1986 (to 1994 for Palau).
The compact came into being as an extension of the U.S.–U.N. territorial trusteeship agreement, which obliged the federal government of the United States "to promote the development of the people of the Trust Territory toward self-government or independence as appropriate to the particular circumstances of the Trust Territory and its peoples and the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned". Under the compact, the U.S. federal government provides guaranteed financial assistance over a 15-year period administered through its Office of Insular Affairs in exchange for full international defense authority and responsibilities.
The Compact of Free Association was initialed by negotiators in 1980 and signed by the parties in the years 1982-1983. It was approved by the citizens of the Pacific states in plebiscites held in 1983. Legislation on the Compact was adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1986 and signed into law on November 13, 1986.Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia
The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia is the supreme law of the Federated States of Micronesia. It was adopted in 1979.Dependent territory
A dependent territory, dependent area or dependency is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state yet remains politically outside the controlling state's integral area.A dependency is commonly distinguished from country subdivisions by not being considered to be integral territory of the governing state. Administrative subdivisions instead are understood as typically representing a division of the state proper. A dependent territory conversely often maintains a great degree of autonomy from the controlling central state. Historically, most colonies were considered dependencies. Those dependent territories currently remaining generally maintain a very high degree of political autonomy. Not all autonomous entities, though, are considered to be dependencies, and not all dependencies are autonomous. Most inhabited dependent territories have their own ISO 3166 country codes.
Some political entities inhabit a special position guaranteed by international treaty or other agreement: creating a certain level of autonomy (e.g., differences in immigration rules). These are sometimes considered or at least grouped with dependencies, but are officially considered by their controlling states to be integral parts of the state. Examples are Åland (Finland) and Hong Kong (China).Emelihter Kihleng
Emelihter Kihleng is a Micronesian (and more specifically Pohnpeian) poet. She is the first ever Micronesian to publish a collection of poetry in the English language, and is one of few published Micronesian poets.
Born in Guam, she obtained a master's degree in creative writing at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2003, and subsequently taught English as a second language at the College of Micronesia in Pohnpei. She later received a PhD in Pacific studies from the Victoria University of Wellington in 2015. Her PhD Thesis was titled "Menginpehn Lien Pohnpei: a poetic ethnography of urohs (Pohnpeian skirts)".In May 2008, she published her first collection of poems, My Urohs. Samoan writer Albert Wendt described her poetry as "refreshingly innovative and compelling, a new way of seeing ourselves in our islands, an important and influential addition to our literature" – meaning Pacific Islander literature. I-Kiribati poet Teresia Teaiwa described it as "ethnographic poetry", "lush with the languages and imagery of Pohnpei and Micronesia", "an exciting new contribution to Pacific literature". Sāmoan writer Sia Figiel described her poetry as "disturbing and haunting, illuminating and tender", "woven from the violent threads of postcolonialism, laced with patches of Island humour", "a powerful addition to Pacific Literature". American poet Mark Nowak also praised her work.Kihleng explained that the urohs is "the quintessential dress of a Pohnpeian woman as a symbol of Pohnpeian women and Pohnpeian culture. I chose to title the collection My Urohs [...] because [...] the essence of the collection as a whole [is] colorful, tragic, beautiful, colonized and indigenous all at the same time".In February 2009, Kihleng and University of Guam professor of English Dr. Evelyn Flores announced their intention to publish the first ever anthology of Micronesian literature, calling for contributions from writers from Guam, Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, Nauru, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Kihleng noted that, while Polynesia and Melanesia had made a notable impact on Pacific literature, Micronesia still appeared to be "invisible".According to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, "[m]uch of her work is about Pohnpeian identity and diaspora". The Office of Insular Affairs, a branch of the United States government's Department of the Interior, describes her as "one the most gifted young writers in the Pacific".As of 2008, Kihleng lives in Guam, and, according to the United States government, is "working at the University of Guam's Violence Against Women Prevention Program".Esther Kia'aina
Esther Kia'āina (born July 16, 1963) is an American politician who oversaw the Office of Insular Affairs as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas.Government of Guam
The Government of Guam (GovGuam) is a presidential representative democratic system, whereby the President is the head of state and the Governor is head of government, and of a multi-party system. Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States with policy relations between Guam and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs.Jurelang Zedkaia
Jurelang Zedkaia (13 July 1950 – 7 October 2015) was a Marshallese politician and Iroijlaplap. He served as the President of the Marshall Islands from 2009 to 2012. He was elected as the country's 5th head of state on October 26, 2009, following the ouster of his predecessor, Litokwa Tomeing, in the country's first successful vote of no confidence.List of states and territories of the United States
The United States of America is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, a federal district (Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States), five major territories, and various minor islands. The 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico; the two other states, Alaska and Hawaii, are in the northwestern part of North America and an archipelago in the mid-Pacific, respectively, while the territories are scattered throughout the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
States are the primary subdivisions of the United States, and possess a number of powers and rights under the United States Constitution, such as regulating intrastate commerce, running elections, creating local governments, and ratifying constitutional amendments. Each state has its own constitution, grounded in republican principles, and government, consisting of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. All states and their residents are represented in the federal Congress, a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each state is represented by two Senators, while Representatives are distributed among the states in proportion to the most recent constitutionally mandated decennial census. Additionally, each state is entitled to select a number of electors to vote in the Electoral College, the body that elects the President of the United States, equal to the total of Representatives and Senators in Congress from that state. Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution grants to Congress the authority to admit new states into the Union. Since the establishment of the United States in 1776, the number of states has expanded from the original 13 to the current total of 50, and each new state is admitted on an equal footing with the existing states.As provided by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress exercises "exclusive jurisdiction" over the federal district, which is not part of any state. Prior to passage of the 1973 District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which devolved certain Congressional powers to an elected mayor and council, the district did not have an elected local government. Even so, Congress retains the right to review and overturn laws created by the council and intervene in local affairs. As it is not a state, the district does not have representation in the Senate. However, since 1971, its residents have been represented in the House of Representatives by a non-voting delegate. Additionally, since 1961, following ratification of the 23rd Amendment, the district has been entitled to select three electors to vote in the Electoral College.
In addition to the 50 states and federal district, the United States has sovereignty over 14 territories. Five of them (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have a permanent, nonmilitary population, while nine of them do not. With the exception of Navassa Island, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are located in the Caribbean, all territories are located in the Pacific Ocean. One territory, Palmyra Atoll, is considered to be incorporated, meaning the full body of the Constitution has been applied to it; the other territories are unincorporated, meaning the Constitution does not fully apply to them. Ten territories (the Minor Outlying Islands and American Samoa) are considered to be unorganized, meaning they have not had an Organic Act enacted by Congress; the four other territories are organized, meaning they have had an Organic Act that has been enacted by Congress. The five inhabited territories each have limited autonomy and a non-voting delegate in Congress, in addition to having territorial legislatures and governors, but residents cannot vote in federal elections.
California is the most populous state, with 38,332,521 residents (2013 estimate); Wyoming is the least populous, with an estimated 582,658 residents. The District of Columbia, with an estimated 646,449 residents as of 2012, has a higher population than the two least populous states (Wyoming and Vermont). The largest state by area is Alaska, encompassing 665,384 square miles (1,723,340 km2), while the smallest is Rhode Island, encompassing 1,545 square miles (4,000 km2). The first state to ratify the current Constitution was Delaware, which it did on December 7, 1787, while the newest state is Hawaii, which was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959. The largest territory in terms of both population and size is Puerto Rico, with 3,725,789 residents as of the 2010 Census and a total area of 5,325 square miles (13,790 km2).Manuel Minginfel
Manuel Minginfel (born September 28, 1978) is a weightlifter representing the Federated States of Micronesia.
In the 62 kg category, he ranked 10th at the 2004 Summer Olympics, 7th at the 2005 World Weightlifting Championships, and 4th at the 2006 World Weightlifting Championships.At the 2008 Oceania Championships he won the gold medal in the 62 kg category. He also represented the Federated States of Micronesia in weightlifting at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, where he ranked 11th in the 62 kg category. He was also his country's flag bearer during the Games' opening ceremony.He competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics where he ranked #10 in the Men's 62 kg category.
Minginfel is a native of Yap. He set a new record snatch in the men's 56 kilo category at the South Pacific Games in Samoa in 2007.Ministry of the Colonies
Ministry of the Colonies may refer to:
Government department or ministry with "colony" or a derivative in its name:
Ministry of the Colonies (France)
Imperial Colonial Office, Germany
Ministry of the Colonies (Italy), the ministry of the government of the Kingdom of Italy responsible for the government of the country's colonial possessions and the direction of their economies
Ministry of Colonial Affairs (Japan)
Ministry of the Colonies (Netherlands)
Ministry of the Colonies (Portugal)
Colonial Office, United KingdomSimilar government organizations without using the word "colony":
Ministry of Overseas (Spain)
Office of Insular Affairs, United StatesPalmyra Atoll
Palmyra Atoll () is one of the Northern Line Islands (southeast of Kingman Reef and north of Kiribati Line Islands), located almost due south of the Hawaiian Islands, roughly one-third of the way between Hawaii and American Samoa. The nearest continent is almost 3,355 miles (5,399 kilometers) to the northeast. The atoll is 4.6 sq mi (12 km2), and it is located in the equatorial Northern Pacific Ocean. Its 9 mi (14 km) of coastline has one anchorage known as West Lagoon.
Palmyra Atoll is an unoccupied equatorial Northern Pacific atoll administered as an unorganized incorporated territory, the only one of its kind, by the United States federal government. The 4.6-square-mile (12 km2) territory hosts a variable temporary population of 4–25 "non-occupants", namely staff and scientists employed by various departments of the U.S. government and by The Nature Conservancy, as well as a rotating mix of Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium scholars pursuing research. Portions of the atoll are administered by the Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs. Palmyra Atoll is one of the islands in the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands.Politics of American Samoa
Politics of American Samoa takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic dependency, whereby the Governor is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. American Samoa is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. Its constitution was ratified 1966 and came into effect 1967. Executive power is discharged by the governor and the lieutenant governor. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the legislature. The party system is a based on the United States party system. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
There is also the traditional village politics of the Samoa Islands, the "faamatai" and the "faasamoa", which continues in American Samoa and in independent Samoa, and which interacts across these current boundaries. The Fa'asamoa is the language and customs, and the Fa'amatai the protocols of the "fono" (council) and the chiefly system. The Fa'amatai and the Fono take place at all levels of the Samoan body politic, from the family, to the village, to the region, to national matters. The "matai" (chiefs) are elected by consensus within the fono of the extended family and village(s) concerned. The matai and the fono (which is itself made of matai) decide on distribution of family exchanges and tenancy of communal lands. The majority of lands in American Samoa and independent Samoa are communal. A matai can represent a small family group or a great extended family that reaches across islands, and to both American Samoa and independent Samoa.Politics of Guam
Guam is a presidential representative democracy, whereby the Governor is head of government, and of a multi-party system. Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States with policy relations between Guam and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs.Politics of the United States Virgin Islands
Politics of the United States Virgin Islands takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic dependency, whereby the Governor is the head of the local government, and of a multi-party system. United States Virgin Islands are an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs of the United States Department of the Interior. Executive power is exercised by the local government of the Virgin Islands. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
Virgin Islands residents are U.S. citizens but cannot cast electoral votes for the president of the U.S. but they can participate in the presidential nominating processes (caucuses). Citizens cannot elect voting members of Congress. However, in the U.S. House of Representatives, they are represented by a delegate, who can vote in congressional committees but not in the House itself. Such delegates can speak on the U.S. House floor, introduce bills and offer amendments but cannot vote during business as the Committee as the Whole or on final passage of legislation. The USVI has been allowed to have non-voting representation since 1972. The current Delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the U.S. Virgin Islands is Stacey Plaskett.Virgin Islands residents can vote fully in all elections if they become a resident of one of the 50 U.S. states. If residents of one of the 50 states become residents of the Virgin Islands, they can no longer vote for President or for voting members of Congress.
A federal lawsuit since 2011 in the District Court of the Virgin Islands and now before the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court is currently pending to provide Virgin Islanders with the fundamental right to be represented in Congress and vote for U.S. President. The federal case is Civil No. 3:11-cv-110, Charles v. U.S. Federal Elections Commission. A similar case was filed in the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands against the local Board of Elections. The cases allege it was racial discrimination present in an all-white and segregated Congress of 1917 that was the impetus to deny the right to vote to a majority non-white constituency. The local case is also pending a decision.Territories of the United States
Territories of the United States are sub-national administrative divisions overseen by the federal government. They differ from U.S. states and Native American tribes, which have limited sovereignty. The territories are classified by incorporation and whether they have an "organized" government through an organic act passed by Congress.The U.S. currently has sixteen territories in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Five (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are permanently-inhabited, unincorporated territories; the other nine are small islands, atolls and reefs with no native (or permanent) population. Of the eleven, only one is classified as an incorporated territory. Two territories (Bajo Nuevo Bank and Serranilla Bank) are defacto administered by Colombia. Territories were created to administer newly-acquired land, and most eventually attained statehood. Others, such as the Philippines, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau, later became independent.
Many organized incorporated territories of the United States existed from 1789 to 1959. The first were the Northwest and Southwest territories, and the last were the Alaska and Hawaii Territories. Thirty-one territories (or parts of territories) became states. In the process, some less-developed or -populous areas of a territory were orphaned from it after a statehood referendum. When a portion of the Missouri Territory became the state of Missouri, the remainder of the territory (the present-day states of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota, most of Kansas, Wyoming, and Montana, and parts of Colorado and Minnesota) became an unorganized territory.Territorial telecommunications and other infrastructure is generally inferior to that of the U.S. mainland, and American Samoa's Internet speed was found to be slower than several Eastern European countries. Poverty rates are higher in the territories than in the states.United States Minor Outlying Islands
The United States Minor Outlying Islands are a statistical designation defined by the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 code. The entry code is ISO 3166-2:UM. The minor outlying islands and groups of islands consist of eight United States insular areas in the Pacific Ocean (Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island) and one in the Caribbean Sea (Navassa Island).
The United States has a related territorial dispute with Colombia over administration of the Bajo Nuevo Bank and Serranilla Bank. These islands are not included in the ISO designation.United States territory
United States territory is any extent of region under the sovereign jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, including all waters (around islands or continental tracts) and all U.S. naval vessels. The United States asserts sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its territory. This extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States federal government (which includes tracts lying at a distance from the country) for administrative and other purposes. The United States total territory includes a subset of political divisions.
Agencies under the United States Department of the Interior