Native American Heritage

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Bureau of Indian Affairs Records

Applications and Case Files

The National Archives maintains many applications and case files that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) received and processed from American Indians and other individuals from the early 1800s through the late 1900s. The BIA created these records for a variety of purposes including:

  • Education or training
  • Finances
  • Land, lease, mining, timber, or water
  • Removal of restrictions
  • Social welfare, benefits, or relief
  • Tribal citizenship, enrollment, membership

Generally, these records may provide personal information and supporting materials including affidavits, correspondence, government forms, and reports.

To begin your search:

  • Know the name and tribe
  • Identify what type of information you are seeking (e.g., enrollment)

For additional resources, explore the:

Examples of Applications and Case Files

The majority of these records are not currently digitized or microfilmed.

Finances Land, Leases, Mining, Timber, Water Tribal Citizenship, Enrollment, Membership

A Note About Privacy Restrictions

Documents that are less than 75 years old may contain personal information about individuals who are still living. These records are restricted under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Exemption (b)(6), and must be screened by National Archives staff before being released to researchers. Personal information may be redacted. To learn more about FOIA, please visit: