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Race/ gender/ ethnicity and law

Race/gender/ ethnicity and law


Isthe Bureau of Indian Affairs a necessary level of bureaucracy in 21stCentury America?

TheBureau of Indians Affairs (BIA) is a United States’ agency that istasked with the responsibility of protecting and enhancing the trustassets of American Indians and Indian tribes. The U.S. federalgovernment has encouraged Indian self-determination through variousgovernmental programs that focus on promoting quality of life andeconomic opportunities among the tribe[ CITATION Edw12 l 1033 ].However, the identity of the American Indian tribesis an issue that has faced a lot of controversies amongpolicy-makers, researchers, and the American society in general. Therelationship between the American Indians and the United States is aspecial one, and the federal authority has consistently refined theiridentity through various policies. The essay seeks to shed lightwhether the Bureau of Indian Affairs is a necessary level ofbureaucracy in the current century.

Historyand Background

TheBIA has undergone myriad transformations, since its inception in1824, as the federal government tries to redefine its relationshipwith the Indian Tribes and the Alaska Native community[ CITATION Sch111 l 1033 ].Evolving federal policies have been tailored to subjugate and absorbAmerican Indians and Alaska Natives. Over the years, the BIA has beenentrusted to perform the role of implementing Federal laws thatimpact on the general Americans.

Bureauof Indians Affairs (BIA) bureaucracy

Regrettably,Indians living on the reservations have been forced to depend on andstay within the confines of the federal government regulations. Thefederal government and the Indians have a long and disreputablerelationship that spans over hundred years. As research studiesindicate, the federal government has taken various actions that havedeprived the Indians their resources such as land and also freedom[ CITATION Edw12 l 1033 ].Most of the government actions and policies have aimed atannihilating the Indian cultures, rather than promoting their lifeand economic status. Over the years, the BIA has been faced withnumerous hurdles regarding management of offices and embezzlement offunds.

TheBIA is responsible for implementing various public activities thatfocus on the welfare of the Indians. Indian treaties usually aim atsubsidies, aids, and regulatory controls that promote their socialwell-being. The federal government has provided the Indian tribeswith health services, farm implements, food rations, andinfrastructure in a bid to fulfill its objectives[ CITATION Sch111 l 1033 ].On the other hand, the federal government has implemented policiesand controls that have curtailed fur trade and introduced ban onIndian religious functions.

Thesupremacy of the BIA over the Indian life has resulted in adversesocial, economic, and political impacts. The BIA has been inefficientand corrupt since its inception in 1824[ CITATION Edw12 l 1033 ].Over the past, fraud, corruption, and bribe cases have been the normof the agency, as it tries to maintain its control over the setresponsibilities and objectives. Additionally, the federal governmentis expected to uphold the trust responsibility aspect when makingmost of the policies that affect the Indians. However, the tribeshave moved away from self-governance thus making the trustresponsibility feature, less relevant. As such, the Indian tribeshave embraced more responsibilities as they gain more control overthe trust funds, land, and natural resources.

Inconclusion, the federal government has been a major determinant inthe BIA decisions regarding the self-determination of the Indiantribes. Nonetheless, this should not be the situation because theimplementation of policies and regulations ought to be based on theinterest of the Indian tribes. Therefore, the government has taken alarger control of the BIA’s decision and policy making authority.


Edwards, C. (2012). Indian Lands, Indian Subsidies, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Downsizing the Federal Government.

Schmidt, R. W. (2011). American Indian Identity and Blood Quantum in the 21st Century: A Critical Review. Journal of Anthropology, 1-9.