Indian Affairs, U.S. Bureau of

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  • The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)—which has also been known at varying times as the Indian Office, the Indian Bureau, the Indian Service, or the Indian department—is primarily responsible for fulfilling the federal trust responsibility to American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives and for furthering government-to-government relations. In 1824, this agency was established within the War Department by Secretary of War John C. Calhoun to control, regulate, and oversee the U.S. government's affairs with Indian tribes in areas such as trade, education, and treaty stipulations. In 1832, Congress created the position of commissioner of Indian Affairs to head the agency, and in 1849, Congress moved the agency to the newly created Department of the Interior. Since its creation, the BIA has been directed by ...

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