Indian Affairs (IA) currently provides services (directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts) to approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. There are 574 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Native Villages in the United States.
The Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs advises the Secretary of the Interior on Indian Affairs policy issues, communicates policy to and oversees the programs of the BIA and the BIE, provides leadership in consultations with tribes, and serves as the DOI official for intra- and inter-departmental coordination and liaison within the Executive Branch on Indian matters.
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is the oldest agency of the United States Department of the Interior. Established in 1824, it is responsible for the administration and management of 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals estates held in trust by the United States for American Indian, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. Their missions is to: "… enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives."
Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) provides education services to approximately 42,000 Indian students. Their mission is to: "… provide quality education opportunities from early childhood through life in accordance with the tribes’ needs to cultural and economic well being in keeping with the wide diversity of Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages as distinct cultural and governmental entities. The Bureau considers the whole person (spiritual, mental, physical and cultural aspects.)"