United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs

Alternative names
Active 1951
Active 1967
Active 1986
Active 1987

History notes:

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) was formed in 1824. An agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior, it is responsible for the administration and management of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American Tribes and Alaska Natives.

From the guide to the Navajo Land, motion picture, undated, (J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

A Statistics Section was organized as a part of the Library Section of the Office of the Chief Clerk on March 8, 1909, to handle duties transferred for the Miscellaneous Division. In 1939 the Section, then assigned to the Office of the Finance Officer, was made a Division. It was abolished in 1947. The Statistics Division processed census rolls, reports, and statistical data, and compiled information for the ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.

From the description of Records of the Statistics Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122648479

Jones was a Commissioner at the BIA.

From the description of Correspondence, 1902. (Clarke Historical Library). WorldCat record id: 42427100

Established in 1885 to replace the Civilization and Education (Civilization) Division, this Division was responsible for school administration, agricultural and mechanical training, matters concerning law and order (including liquor suppression), and health, and sanitation. The Division by 1914 consisted of Employees, Law and Order, Health, Schools, Industries, Construction, and Statistics Sections. In 1926 the Education Division was designated the Administrative Division and was abolished in 1931, the Schools Section of the Administrative Division having become the Education Division in 1930.

From the description of Records of the Education Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122578392

The Finance Division, one of the original divisions organized in 1846, was responsible for administrative examination of accounts, appropriations, remittances, stock investments, settlement of claims, and generally for all matters involving expenditure of money for or on account of Indiands.

From the description of Records of the Finance Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122546855

The Construction Division was established in 1939, but a predecessor Division had operated from April 1908 until March 1909, when it became the Construction Section of the Education Division. The Division was responsible for construction and repair of schools, hospitals, agency buildings, water and sewage systems, housing facilities for employees, and heating and power plants. It functioned until about 1948 when it was replaced by the Division of Buildings and Facilities.

From the description of Records of the Construction Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122292114

The Forestry Division was not formally established until 1924.

From the description of Records of the Forestry Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122456538

The Law Office was established in 1908 under the supervision of a law clerk, formerly of the Land Division, and by 1911 was usually referred to as the Law Division. In 1913 the Heirship Section of the Land Division was transferred to the Law Division, which thereafter was chiefly concerned with probate work, and by 1917 was known as the Probate Division.

From the description of Records of the Law and Probate Divisions and Predecessors. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122554364

The Indian Organization Division was established in 1934 to supervise the organization of Indian tribes as provided by the Indian Reorganization Act (Wheeler-Howard Act) of June 18, 1934. In 1943 the Division became the Division of Tribal Relations.

From the description of Records of the Indian Organization Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122370704

The Division was established in 1885 in the Office of Education chiefly to supervise the education of Eskimo and Indian children in Alaska, but it duties were not limited to educational matters. Its representatives served as law enforcement agents, collected data for Government agencies, directed the Alaska Reindeer Service and supplied medical aid to the natives. In 1931 the Division was transferred from the Office of Education to the Office of Indian Affairs.

From the description of Records of the Alaska Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122640889

The Health Division was established in 1924 to conduct health activities formerly handled by the Education Division. From July 1924 until 1931 it was called the Medical division.

From the description of Records of the Health Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122457833

These records were created mainly by superintendencies, agencies, and nonreservation schools, most of which were discontinued and their records transferred to Washington, D.C. The kinds of records maintained by the superintendencies and agencies varied little between jurisdictions, although there are great differences in the quantities that survived. For the most part they consist chiefly of correspondence, frequently with indexes and registers to letters received and sent and to financial documents.

From the description of Field Office Records. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122578397

The Employees Section, known as the Appointments Section until 1911, was established in the Education Division on March 8, 1909, to handle appointments, transfers, separations, and promotions and other personnel actions of field employees. It was abolished in 1939, and the personnel work of the Bureau was centralized in a Personnel Division.

From the description of Records of the Employee Section. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86123306

The Rehabilitation Division was established in 1936 to carry out an Indian relief and rehabilitation program. Funds were provided through the Work Projects Administration, the Resettlement Administration, and its successor, the Farm Security Administration. On October 29, 1941, the Rehabilitation Division was consolidated with the Extension Division, but separate records for the Rehabilitation Division were maintained until 1944.

From the description of Records of the Rehabilitation Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122396365

Indian affairs, generally involving land, treaties, and trade, were handled by the Secretary of War before the Bureau of Indian Affairs was established in 1824.

From the description of Records [microform], 1796-1854. (Ohio Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 38974660

Established December 5, 1930, as a successor to the Industries Section of the Administrative (Education) Division, this Division first was known as the Division of Agricultural Extension and Industry, but it was often called the Extension Division. It was organized to assist the Indians in solving domestic and economic problems through instruction and guidance classes, demonstrations, visits, and work supervision. Agricultural extension agents or the agency superintendents supervised the work at the agencies.

From the description of Records of the Division of Extension and Industry. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122292112

The Indian Emergency Conservation Work Division (IECW) was established May 22, 1933, but was renamed Civilian Conservation Corps - Indian Division (CCC-ID) when Emergency Conservation Work becmae the Civilian Conservation Corps on July 1, 1937. The objectives of the CCC-ID program were to provide employement for Indians and to accomplishe useful conservation work. An enrollee program provided training, recreation, and welfare for the Indians. CCC-ID fieldwork was terminated July 10, 1942, but the Washington office continued to operate in order to conclude its affairs.

From the description of Records of the Conservation Corps - Indian Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122515927

Zitkala is the Indian name for Gertrude Bonnin, 1876-1938.

From the guide to the National Council of American Indians records, 1926-1938, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

The Office of Indian Trade was formally established in 1806, although two Government trading houses had begun operating in 1795 among the Creek and Cherokee Indians. An act of April 18, 1796, which was reenacted from time to time with slight changes until 1822, authorized the President to establish Government trading houses or factories, and some 28 factories were in existence at different time under this system. Headquarters for supplying the factories and for receiving furs and peltries was at Philadelphia, and the system was operated mainly through the facilities of the War Department. In 1806 provision was made for a Superintendent of Indian Trade, who maintained a warehouse in Georgetown, D.C., and was responsible for purchasing and transporting goods to the factories until the system was abolished in 1822.

From the description of Records of the Office of Indian Trade. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86123298

The Board of Indian Commissioners was established June, 3, 1869, and given the right to inspect records of the Bureau of Indain Affairs, to visit and inspect superintendencies and agencies, to be present when goods were purchased for the Indian Service, and to inspect goods and make recommendations on matters concerning administration of Indian affairs. In its later years the Board limited its activities chiefly to inspections and surveys and to making recommendations. It was abolished by an Executive order of May 25, 1933.

From the description of Records of the Board of Indian Commissioners. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122391922

The Division was established in October 1885 to investigate claims against the Indians for depredations. In 1891 the investigation and determination of the Indian depredation claims were transferred to the United States Court of Claims. The Depredation Division continued to answer inquiries and to service records until it was abolished in 1893.

From the description of Records of the Depredation Division. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86133931

Established in 1846 as one of the original Divisions of the Bureau, the Civilization and General Statistics Division maintained information concerning Indian population, tribal wealth, missionary establishments, traders, and advancement in agricultural and mechanical arts and in schools and education. Later, responsibility for matters concerning depredation claims, conduct of the Indians, liquor control, intrusions on Indian lands, and field personnel was added. In 1881 educational matters came under its jurisdiction, and in 1885 it became the Education Division with all of its non-educational responsibilites assigned to other divisions. Since its records were transferred to the divisions inheriting its functions, the records of the Civilization Division are fragmentary.

From the description of Records of the Civilization Division. (Dana College, C.A. Dana-Life Library). WorldCat record id: 86118871

The Bureau of Indian Affairs was established in 1824 within the War Department, which from the establishment of the Federal Government had exercised jurisdiction over Indian affairs in their civilian aspects. Known as the Office of Indian Affairs until 1947 when it was officially designated the Bureau of Indian Affairs, it operated informally within the War Department from 1824 until 1832 when the Congress authorized appointment of a Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In 1849 the Bureau was transferred from the War Department to the newly created Department of the Interior.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for most of the Federal Government's relations with Indians, including their economic development, education, and legal rights. The Bureau's responsibility has, however, never extended to all Indians, but only to Indians living on reservations or maintaining their tribal affiliation in some manner. Some tribes, particularly in the East, have been under State rather than Federal authority. The Indians and Eskimos of Alaska came under the Bureau's jurisdiction in 1931 with the transfer to the Bureau of the Alaska Division of the Office of Education, which had been established in 1885 to administer matters relating to the education and health of natives of Alaska. In 1955 the Bureau's health activities, including those in Alaska, were transferred to the Public Health Service.

In 1824 the Bureau inherited a well-established system of Indian superintendencies and agencies, and the basic organizational structure has remained unchanged. The Bureau now consists of the central office, area offices, and field installations including Indian agencies, boarding schools, and irrigation projects.

From the description of Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Records Group 75). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122355269

Bureau of Indian Affairs program to relocate Native Americans to urban areas.

Beginning with the Navajo-Hopi rehabilitation project in 1948, the BIA urban relocation program was expanded to other tribes in 1950. In addition to placing relocation officers at reservation agencies, the Bureau opened urban field offices in Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Chicago by 1951, and later added offices in St. Louis, Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, Dallas, and Cleveland. The program provided transportation, job placement, subsistence funds, counseling, and vocational training (added in 1956) for urban migrants.

From the description of Bureau of Indian Affairs Indian relocation records, 1936-1975, (bulk 1956-1958). (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 47721986


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  • Athapascan Indians--History
  • Seminole Indians--Government relations
  • Industry
  • Agriculture
  • Indians of North America--Relocation
  • Opinions of the Attorney General
  • Indians of North America
  • Railroads
  • Indian reservations
  • Indians of North America--Government relations--1789-1869
  • Makah Indians--Government relations
  • Indians of North America--Statistics, vital
  • Land grants--New Mexico
  • Education--History--Sources
  • Indians of North America--Education
  • Apache Indians
  • Indians of North America--Treaties
  • Paiute Indians--Economic conditions
  • Schools--History--Sources
  • Mormons
  • Paiute Indians--Social conditions
  • Logging--Minnesota
  • Ghost dance
  • Cherokee
  • Indigenous peoples--Education--History--Sources
  • Indians of North America--Missions
  • Chocataw Indians
  • Ottawa
  • Indians, treatment of
  • Dakota Indians--Wars, 1890-1891
  • Eskimos
  • Dakota Indians
  • Land grants
  • Indians of North America--Census
  • Indians of North America--Education--History--20th century--Sources
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Land titles
  • Teachers--Correspondence
  • Seneca Indians
  • Forest and forestry
  • Indians of North America--Reservations
  • Steam-carriage
  • Correspondence
  • Church and state--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--History--19th century--Sources
  • Pacific Coast Indians, Wars with, 1847-1865
  • Osage
  • Politics, Government, and Law
  • Cayuga Indians
  • Land titles--Registration and transfer
  • Nez Perce Indians--Land tenure
  • Timber
  • Indians of North America--Commerce
  • Indians of North America--Employment--History--20th century--Sources
  • Indians of North America--History--Sources
  • Indians of North America--Health and hygiene
  • Indians of North America--Wars
  • Indians of North America--irrigaiton
  • Indians of North America--Art
  • Cherokee Indians
  • Indians of North America--Oregon--Treaties
  • Indians of North America--Government relations--1934--Sources
  • Indians of North America--Urban residence--History--20th century--Sources
  • Frontier and pioneer life--Arizona--Sources
  • Forrest reserves
  • Schools
  • Indians of North America--Trading posts
  • Rural schools--History
  • Cattle
  • Villages--Earthquake effects--Photographs
  • Tuscarora Indians
  • Creek Indians
  • Ojibwa Indians--Reservations
  • Ojibwa Indians--Land tenure
  • Native Americans
  • Surveying
  • Census
  • Canals
  • Indian land transfers
  • Indians of North America--Government relations
  • Indians of North America--Washington (State)--Treaties
  • Chickasaw Indians
  • Alaska Earthquake, Alaska, 1964
  • Flathead Indians
  • Indians of North America--History
  • Land titles--Registration and transfer--New Mexico
  • Mormon Church--Arizona--History--Sources
  • Yankton Indians
  • Indians of North America--Government relations--1869-1934
  • Indian land transfers--New Mexico
  • Ojibwa Indians--Education
  • Indians of North America--Minnesota
  • Territorial Government
  • Oneida Indians
  • Transportation
  • Indians of North America--History--20th century--Sources
  • Material Types
  • Onondaga Indians
  • Fettermen fight--1867
  • Indians of North America--Religion--Arizona
  • Earthquake relief--Photographs
  • Ojibwa Indians
  • Ojibwa Indians--Government relations--1869-1934
  • Indians of North America--wars--1815-1872
  • Logging
  • Ute Indians
  • Liquor laws


not available for this record


  • Indian agents--Minnesota


  • Michigan (as recorded)
  • Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (S.D.) (as recorded)
  • Idaho (as recorded)
  • Dakota (as recorded)
  • Laguna Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Yellow Medicine Agency (as recorded)
  • South Dakota (as recorded)
  • Zuni (as recorded)
  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
  • Superior National Forest (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • Red Lake (as recorded)
  • Tanacross (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Bethel (as recorded)
  • Santa Ana Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Nebraska (as recorded)
  • Chenega (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • Nebraska City Machine, 1862 (as recorded)
  • Indiana (as recorded)
  • Superior National Forest (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Wisconsin (as recorded)
  • Sedan (Okla.) (as recorded)
  • Red Lake Indian Reservation (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Zia Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Zia Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • Lawton (Okla.) (as recorded)
  • Santo Domingo Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation (Utah) (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • Illinois--Chicago (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Aleutian Islands (as recorded)
  • Montana (as recorded)
  • Concho (Okla.) (as recorded)
  • Isleta Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Montana (as recorded)
  • Arizona (as recorded)
  • Pueblo of Laguna (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • Afognak (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Copper River Region (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • Lake Traverse Indian Reservation (N.D. and S.D.) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
  • Spokane (as recorded)
  • Attu (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • Utah (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Wisconsin (as recorded)
  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Leech Lake Indian Reservation (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Choctaw Trading Post (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Hoonah (as recorded)
  • White Earth Indian Reservation (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • Chippewa National Forest (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • Nevada (as recorded)
  • Idaho--Nez Percé Indian Reservation (as recorded)
  • Arizona (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Wales (as recorded)
  • Flathead (as recorded)
  • Old Harbor (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Killisnoo (as recorded)
  • Santa Ana Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Taos Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • Arkansas (as recorded)
  • Isleta Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Utah (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Cape Prince of Wales (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Wainwright (as recorded)
  • Nez Percé Indian Reservation (Idaho) (as recorded)
  • North Dakota (as recorded)
  • Andarko (Okla.) (as recorded)
  • Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Santa Clara Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Wyoming (as recorded)
  • Wisconsin (as recorded)
  • Jemez Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Nez Percé Indian Reservation (Idaho) (as recorded)
  • South Dakota (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Idaho--Nez Percé Indian Reservation (as recorded)
  • Utah (as recorded)
  • North Dakota (as recorded)
  • Tetlin (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • Taos Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Gambell (as recorded)
  • Atka (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • Missouri--Saint Louis (as recorded)
  • Santo Domingo Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Red Lake Indian Reservation (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • Chitina (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • North Dakota (as recorded)
  • Chippewa National Forest (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • Utah (as recorded)
  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
  • Nez Percé Indian Reservation (Idaho) (as recorded)
  • English Bay (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • Idaho--Nez Percé Indian Reservation (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Standing Rock Indian Reservation (N.D. and S.D.) (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • White Earth Indian Reservation (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Michigan (as recorded)
  • Arizona (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Klawock (as recorded)
  • Clinton (Okla.) (as recorded)
  • Fort Snelling (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Nabesna Region (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • South Dakota (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Alaska--Unalaska (as recorded)
  • Tanana River Region (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Montana (as recorded)
  • Copper Center (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Michigan (as recorded)
  • Ouzinkie (Alaska) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • Leech Lake Indian Reservation (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Jemez Pueblo (N.M.) (as recorded)