Bureau of Indian Affairs

(redirected from Office of Indian Affairs)
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Indian Affairs, Bureau of,

created (1824) in the U.S. War Dept. and transferred (1849) to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior. The War Dept. managed Native American affairs after 1789, but a separate bureau was not set up for many years. It had jurisdiction over trade with Native Americans, their removal to the West, their protection from exploitation, and their concentration on reservations. Because of wide dissatisfaction in the West over army administration of Native American affairs, the responsibility was given to the Dept. of the Interior and reorganized. The new bureau was no more successful than its predecessor in preventing wars with Native Americans or in protecting their rights. The Bureau of Indian Affairs instead evolved primarily into a land-administering agency, a process speeded up by the Dawes Act of 1887, the Burke Act of 1906, and the Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934, now acting as trustee over Native American lands and funds. The bureau also promotes agricultural and economic development, provides a health program, social services, Native American schools, and reclamation projects for Alaska Natives and Native Americans in the United States. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has also been officially called the Office of Indian Affairs and the Indian Service. Beginning in the early 1970s, Native American civil-rights groups, such as the American Indian MovementAmerican Indian Movement
(AIM), Native American civil-rights activist organization, founded in 1968 to encourage self-determination among Native Americans and to establish international recognition of their treaty rights.
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, began actively protesting their dissatisfaction with the bureau. In 1997 the bureau was accused by Interior Dept. auditors of mismanaging money owed to Native American tribes and individuals. A lawsuit on the issue, dating to 1996, was tentatively settled in 2009 for $3.4 billion (mainly for compensation and fractionated land ownership consolidation). Since 2011 a number of tribes have also won or settled claims resulting from alleged mismanagement, with compensation totaling about $1.9 billion.
References in periodicals archive ?
96), an older community member of the Standing Rock Sioux who wrote to the Office of Indian Affairs in opposition to a 1923 circular which prohibited dancing, the author chooses not to correct syntactical and grammatical errors, perhaps for the sake of presenting Joseph's voice as an unmediated (as possible) narrative account, which in itself makes sense.
Those students who completed the graduation requirements at relocation centers received a general diploma from the United States Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs.
When the Office of Indian Affairs seeks, in 1837, to learn about the culture and numbers of the Cheyenne Indians, Yale graduate Thomas McCabe volunteers to make contact and report back.

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