Interior, U.S. Department of the

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  • The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the fifth cabinet-level department, was formed in 1849. It has had a major influence on the West, manifested in its many agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Originally known as a “department of everything else,” DOI also oversaw the Patent Office until it was transferred to the Commerce Department in 1925. Forests, originally managed by DOI, were moved early in the twentieth century to the Department of Agriculture, which then set up the U.S. Forest Service.

    As part of the organizing process, the Office of Indian Affairs (later ...

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