Bureau of Indian Affairs
Favian Alejandro Martín
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), also known as the Office of Indian Affairs, provides an array of services to the 561 Native American tribes that are federally recognized in the United States. These services include developing forests, overseeing and directing agricultural programs, developing and maintaining the infrastructures of Indian reservations, and economic development. The agency also provides to Native Americans who live on or near reservations housing, health care, and educational services to nearly 48,000 students in 60 schools. It manages 55.7 million acres of land entrusted to Native American tribes, including Native Alaskans. This entry reviews the formation and the history of the BIA as well as the controversies that surround the agency. Before the establishment of the BIA, the United States had made efforts to provide services to Native Americans. In 1775, the Continental Congress created three departments of Indian affairs—Northern, Central, and Southern— that were under ...