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Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is a federal agency in the U.S. Department of the Interior, and is responsible for administering and managing more than 55 million acres of land that the U.S. government holds in trust for the many Native American tribes. Bureau of Indian AffairsThe Bureau of Indian Affairs serves 566 recognized Indian tribes through one of its four offices: the Office of Indian Services, the Office of Justice Services, the Office of Trust Services, and the Office of Field Operations.

Secretary of War John C. Calhoun created the original Office of Indian Affairs in 1824 by as part of the War Department. In 1849, the office was transferred to the Department of the Interior, and renamed the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1947. Native American activism in the 1960s and 1970s led to several incidents with the BIA police were involved, including the 1973 Wounded Knee incident and the Pine Ridge shootout.

In 2013, budget sequestration slashed the funding to the Bureau of Indian Affairs by some $800 million dollars. Particularly hard hit was the Indian Health Service, which provides medical care and public health services to Native Americans. The BIA is attempting to reinvent itself, moving from a supervisory to a advisory role with Native American tribes. However, a long history of distrust of the BIA remains prominent among tribes.

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