This page goes over the main government agencies and other organizations that help Native Americans.
U.S. Department of the Interior - Indian Affairs
Indian Affairs (IA) is the oldest division of the U.S Department of the Interior. IA currently provides services to about 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. There are 567 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives in the United States.
There are two main bureau's within IA: the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is in charge of 55 million acres of land for American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives.
Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) educates about 42,000 Indian students.
Each tribe makes its own rules for enrollment in the tribe. To join a tribe, you must first decide which you are claiming heritage from. Then, contact the tribe using the Tribal Leaders Directory.
Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB)
The BIA will issue a Certificate degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) that shows your blood quantum and tribal affiliation. Contact the BIA agency for your tribe to get a CDIB card.
Financial Assistance and Social Services (FASS)
The Financial Assistance and Social Services (FASS) program gives money and other services to people who need it. Funding includes:
- General assistance,
- Child assistance,
- Burial assistance,
- Emergency assistance, and
- Adult care assistance.
Learn more on the BIA website.
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and juvenile justice
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law that protects Indian children. It requires states to do certain things regarding child abuse and neglect and adoption cases involving Native children.
Learn more by reading the Child Welfare Series from the Capacity Building Center for Tribes and other juvenile justice resources.
Adult protective services
It is the policy of Indian Affairs (IA) to provide social services to improve the quality of life and to protect the elderly and disabled from abuse and neglect. For questions and resources regarding adult protective services for the elderly and disabled, read the BIA Adult Protection Handbook.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Native American Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans. VA benefits include:
- Disability compensation,
- Education and training,
- Health care,
- Home loans,
- Vocational rehabilitation and employment, and
See the VA website for an overview of the benefits available to all Veterans.
Violence prevention resources
- Tribal Orders of Protection Resources
- Domestic Violence Awareness Resources
- Sexual Assault Awareness Resources
- Human Trafficking resources
- Child Abuse and Neglect Publications
Native-based legal organizations
Updated: December 2017