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Bureau of Indian Affairs- Federal Materials
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is one of the oldest agencies in the federal government, and the longest-running agency within the United States Department of the Interior. In 1775, the Committee on Indian Affairs was created by the Continental Congress and led by Benjamin Franklin. Secretary of War John C. Calhoun administratively established the BIA in 1824, and in 1849, the bureau was transferred to the United States Department of the Interior. Over the years, the agency was referenced by various names including the Indian bureau, the Indian office, and the Indian department, until 1947 when the agency’s name was formally adopted as the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Historically, the BIA’s mandate reflected the federal policies of subjugation and assimilation. As federal policies have evolved over the past two centuries, the BIA’s mandate has drastically changed. Today, the BIA serves 574 federally recognized tribes across the United States, and most employees are American Indians or Alaska Natives. To strengthen the quality of life in tribal communities, the BIA works with tribal governments in the management of agricultural and economic development, law enforcement, natural resources programs, and tribal governance.
This federal collection of materials provides a unique resource for learning more about tribal communities and the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ evolving role over the past two centuries. The collection contains federal materials, including Constitutions and Bylaws of Tribes, Corporate Charters, the Indian Record, the Indian School Journal, and Statistics Concerning Indian Education.
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