Midwest Region - Overview
The BIA Midwest Region provides funding and support to 36 federally recognized Indian tribes located in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Tribes in the Midwest Region encompass approximately 62 million acres, including treaty-ceded territories, representing millions of acres of forests, lakes, streams and wetlands. The Region's tribes have sustained various programs that continue to support their self-determination, cultural, political and subsistence needs including such programs as fisheries and wildlife management, wild rice, wetlands, and waterfowl restoration. As a result of the Tribes' collective efforts with the states, other federal agencies, various universities and private land-owners, these programs have served as national models for collaborative, landscape-scale work.
The Midwest Regional Office (MRO), located in Bloomington, Minnesota, directly serves six tribes. In addition, the Region has four Agencies: the Michigan Agency, located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, that directly serves 12 tribes; the Minnesota Agency, located in Bemidji, Minnesota, that directly serves the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) and its six Bands; the Great Lakes Agency, located in Ashland, Wisconsin, that directly serves 10 tribes; and the Red Lake Agency, located in Red lake Minnesota, which is directly served by the Regional Office.
Office of the Regional Director
The Regional Director is the Region's Senior Official with delegated authority from the Secretary and/or Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in upholding and maintaining the government-to-government relationship with tribes and fulfilling the Federal trust responsibilities. The Regional Director's Executive Team, which supports her in providing organizational leadership and management, includes two Deputy Regional Directors (Divisions of Indian and Trust Services) and three Agency Superintendents (Michigan Agency, Minnesota Agency and the Great Lakes Agency). The Executive Team ensures the coordination of all assigned programs to achieve the overall mission of the Bureau and Department.
Regional Director (Acting)
Deputy Regional Director, Indian Services
Deputy Regional Director (Acting), Trust Services
Tracing your ancestry (the BIA does not perform ancestry work):
- Contact information for a federally recognized tribe:
- Indian Education information - Bureau of Indian Education:
- Funding for American Indian and/or Alaska Native owned businesses:
Regional Office Programs
Environmental, Cultural Resources and Safety
The Division of Environmental, Cultural Resources and Safety (DECRS) assures compliance with applicable environmental and cultural resource statutes. The Division reviews the BIA and tribal projects; roads (IRR and ARRA projects), realty (land acquisitions in trust, tribal business, residential, agricultural and oil & gas leases, conveyances, acquisitions and disposals, mortgages, rights of way, reservation proclamations), Fee to Trust applications, facilities, forestry (timber sales, free use cutting permits, forest development projects, timber salvage). The Division also coordinates with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to address Safety and environmental compliance. The Division also addresses safety issues in the workplace and coordinates with the BIE to address Safety and environmental compliance.
The Program Analyst - Trust Coordination oversees the lockbox process to ensure transactions and distributions are processed and completed timely and accurately at the region and agencies. This involves the coordination with the agencies to resolve lockbox exceptions and assist in resolving problems and issues in the distribution of trust funds. The lockbox liaison also assists in resolving other issues related to the allocation and distribution of income associated with lockbox exceptions. The lockbox liaison works with all regional trust programs as well as the Regional Director, Deputy Regional Directors, the Office of the Special Trustee and other Trust Project managers as well as agency trust programs to process trust system corrections.
The Division of Fee-to-Trust focuses on processing fee-to-trust applications. The Division was initiated in 2004 by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Region and Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Since then, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians have joined. The Division is funded through each tribe's respective Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) funds.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks
The cultural importance of wild rice as well as its attraction as a traditional food source is the focus of the many restoration efforts. "Manomin" or wild rice, well known for its taste and nutrition, is a traditional grain of many Midwest Region tribes. Wild rice's ecological benefits include providing habitat for species ranging from moths to moose and snails to rails.
Forestry and Fire
The Forestry and Fire branch oversees 1,046,935 acres of forest land on Reservations and Public Domain Lands in the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. The Branch is responsible for providing coordination, management, planning, oversight, and monitoring for activities related to development, enhancement and protection of trust forest resources. The Fire Program ensures the protection of property and natural resources from Wildland fires as well as providing prevention, education, supporting forest management through the use of prescribed fires.
The Branch of Probate coordinates and implements the Bureau's probate process to meet the Secretary's fiduciary responsibilities to tribes and individual Indians. The Division is responsible for developing action plans and systems for probate programs and for developing and implementing improvements to the probate process.
Real Estate Services
The Real Estate Services Division provides assistance, oversight, monitoring, and coordination for the protection, management, planning, conservation, development and utilization of trust and restricted Federal Indian-owned lands that include acquisition, disposal, tenure, rights-of-way, permits, leases and sales. The Realty Division manages the Bureau's program to accept real estate on behalf of tribes under the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRCA) and similar programs. The Division manages the Cadastral Survey program for the determination of legal boundaries on Indian land.
The Branch of Roads (Transportation) assists the Midwest tribes in administering the Preliminary Engineering, Construction, Construction Engineering, and Maintenance activities associated with the facilities identified in their respective tribal Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) inventories.
The Self-Determination contracting staff provides guidance and technical assistance to Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and Agency staff in the implementation of all aspects of Public Law 93-638, as amended. The Division has the responsibility for the award, modification, administration and close-out of all self-determination contracts awarded to tribes and tribal organizations under the administrative jurisdiction of the Midwest Region.
The Midwest Region Division of Human Services has two Masters of Social Workers who are responsible for working in coordination with the Minnesota Agency and Great Lakes Agency Fiduciary Trust Officers through coordinated efforts to ensure the management and implementation of DOI's trust responsibility for all supervised Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts.
Housing Improvement Program (HIP)
The Housing Improvement Program (HIP) is designed to serve as a safety net program, targeting those neediest individual Indians residing within approved service areas who cannot meet income requirements set forth by tribes administering Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing programs. This program improves the quality of life of Indians qualified to participate in the program by eliminating substandard housing and homelessness on or near federally recognized reservation communities. The HIP provides funding for needed housing repairs and renovations of existing homes, construction of a modest replacement home, or construction of a modest home for families who do not own a home but have ownership or lease of sufficient land suitable for housing. The HIP meets the need of those individual Indians residing within a tribe’s approved service area. Program funding is available to federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations for use in providing program services to Indian applicants who meet the eligibility criteria in 25 CFR Part 256.
Tribal Operations supports and assists Indian tribes in three primary areas: tribal enrollment; tribal relations; and tribal claims. Staff provide research and preparation of Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) forms, develops or updates policies, regulations and guidelines concerning tribal enrollment systems and processes, enrollment appeals for members of tribes that have adverse enrollment actions by Bureau officials. Staff also review and approve tribal organic documents as required by Federal (25 U.S.C. 476) or Tribal law and assist in the preparation of membership rolls for special (Secretarial) elections or for per capita distributions, and administration of special elections per 25 C.F.R.
The Region's Water Resource Division works to assist tribes with water management or water encroachment issues, dams which are part of the DOI Safety of Dams Program, and reviews hydroelectric dams which may be impacting tribal resources. The Division also acts as a liaison for the Indian Affairs - Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development- Division of Energy and Minerals Resources Management.