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Superintendents of Indian Affairs for a specific locality existed from approximately 1803 until 1878, when the last Superintendency was abolished. After 1878, agents of the Bureau of Indian Affairs reported directly to the Commissioner's Office in Washington, DC, at least until the BIA created Area Offices.
A Superintendent of Indian Affairs was an administrator, communicating and overseeing the agents who worked directly with individual tribes. It was the responsibility of the superintendent to see that the agents were following official government policy. Records for Superintendencies exist in the National Archives and copies of many of them are also available in other research facilities.
The Superintendencies, Listed Alphabetically
- Established 1863; abolished 1873
- Established 1819; abolished 1834; to Western Superintendency
- Established 1852; abolished 1873
- Established 1851; abolished 1878; from St. Louis Superintendency
- Established 1861; abolished 1870
- Established 1861; discontinued 1870; reestablished 1877; abolished 1878; from part of Central Superintendency
- Established 1824; abolished 1834
- Established 1863; abolished 1870
- Established 1838; abolished 1846; to St. Louis Superintendency
- Established 1805; abolished 1851; to Northern Superintendency
- Established 1849; abolished 1856; to Northern Superintendency
- Established 1813; abolished 1848; duties transferred to St. Louis Superintendency after 1851
- Established 1864; abolished 1873
- Established 1861; abolished 1870
- Established 1850; abolished 1874
- Established 1851; abolished 1876; from Michigan and Wisconsin Superintendencies
- Established 1848; abolished 1873
- Established 1851; abolished 1870; from Western Superintendency
- Established 1822; abolished 1851; to Central Superintendency
- Established 1850; abolished 1870
- Established 1853; abolished 1874
- Established 1832; abolished 1851; to Southern Superintendency
- Established 1836; abolished 1848; to Northern Superintendency
- Established 1869; abolished 1870
The Superintendencies, Listed by Date of Creation
The dates of the records listed in the following chart may extend beyond the date when the Superintendency was abolished. The Bureau of Indian Affairs occasionally filed correspondence under the name of the Superintendency even after it had ceased to operate. Pre-1824 correspondence was under the jurisdiction of the War Department.
|NARA#||FHLC First Film||Rolls|
|Existing records would be filed with the correspondence of the War Department||-||-||-||-|
|Arkansas Superintendency 1824-1834|| Tribes: Cherokee, Quapaw, Choctaw, Osage, Shawnee, Caddo and Delaware
1825 & 1826 Quapaw removed to Caddo or Red River Agency
1834 Most Indians had been removed from Arkansas
1834 Indians west of Arkansas were placed under the new Western Superintendency (Cherokee, Choctaw, Quapaw and others)
|St. Louis Superintendency 1822-1851||-||-||-||-|
|Florida Superintendency 1824-1853||
Agency: Seminole or Florida
|Michigan Superintendency 1824-1851||
Tribes: Chippewa, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Menominee, Winnebago, Wyandot, Seneca, Shawnee, Delaware, Miami, Oneida, Stockbridge, Munsee and Ottawa of Maumee
1832-1834 The Six Nations of New York were attached to the Michigan Superintendency
|Iowa Superintendency 1838-1849||
Tribes Sac and Fox
1845 Sauk and Fox moved to the Osage River west of Missouri (now Kansas).
|Western Superintendency 1832-1851||
Tribes: Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Osage, Seneca and Mixed Band of Seneca and Shawnee, Quapaw, Seminole Chickasaw, Caddo, Kiowa Comanche and others
1839 Chickasaw moved west - Oklahoma
|Wisconsin Superintendency 1836-1848||
Tribes: Sauk and Fox, Winnebago, Chippewa, Menominee, Oneida, Stockbridge, Munsee, Sioux and Iowa
|California Superintendency 1849-1880||
Tribes: Tejon, Tule (Tularenos) Mono, Kern River (Tubatulabal), Wikchamni, Nomelaki, Kings River, Fresno, Kawia, Nuimok, Noi-sas, Wailaki, Yupu, Yuki, Klamath, Hupa, Saia, Mattole, Pit River, Redwood (Whilkut), Wappo, Yokaia (Ukiah), Kianamaras, Pomo, Salan Pomo (Potter), Concow (Konkau) and Mission Indians.
|Minnesota Superintendency 1849-1856||Tribes: Sioux, Chippewa, Winnebago, Assiniboin and Mandan||75||M872 / 842||1618093||9 rolls|
|Oregon Superintendency 1848-1880||Tribes: Umpqua, Umatilla, Cayuse, Wallawalla, Wasco. Shoshoni (Snake), Kalapuya, Clackamas, Rogue River, Warm Springs, Shasta, Klamath, Modoc, Paiute, Tenion, Nez Perce, Molala, Yamel, Joshua, Sixes (Kwatami), Chastacosta, Chetco and Bannock||75||M2||1617787||29 rolls|
|New Mexico Superintendency 1849-1880||Tribes: Navajo, Southern Apache, Utah (Ute), Abiquiu (Ute and Jicarilla Apache), Conejos (Tabaquache Ute) Pueblo, Tucson (Pima, Papago, Maricopa and Apache), Cimarron (Jicarilla Apache and Moache Ute) and Mescalero||75||T21||1617620||30 rolls|
|Utah Superintendency 1849-1880||
Tribes: Ute, Shoshoni, Bannock, Paiute and Washo
|Central Superintendency 1813,1851-1880||Tribes: Delaware, Shawnee, Wyandot, Kickapoo, Kansa, Sauk and Fox (of Mississippi and Missouri), Iowa, Potawatomi, Chippewa, Ottawa, Munsee, Peoria, Wea, Kaskaskia, Piankeshaw, Miami, Oto, Missouri, Omaha, Pawnee, Ponca, Kowa, Apache (Kiowa-Apache), Comanche, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Sioux and others||75||M856||1602893||108 rolls|
|Northern Superintendency 1851-1876||
Tribes: Chippewa, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Menominee, Oneida, Stockbridge, Mackinac, Omaha, Pawnee, Otoe (Oto and Missouri Indians), Great Nemaha (Sauk and Fox of Missouri and Iowa) and Winnebago
1863 many of the Winnebago and Sioux Indians moved to Dakota Territory
|Southern Superintendency 1851-1871||
Tribes: Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole, Quapaw, Seneca and Mixed Band of Seneca and Shawnee, and Osage Indians of southern Kansas, Wichita and Kichai.
In 1859 Caddo, Anadarko, Waco Tonkawa, Hainai, Kichai, Tawakoni, Delaware, Shawnee and Comanche Indians were moved from Texas to Wichita Agency in Indian Territory
1861-1864 Indians loyal to U.S. fled to Kansas, after the Civil War the Indians began to return to Indian territory.
|Washington Superintendency 1853-1880||Tribes: Makah, Skokomish, Yakima, Colville, Puyallup, Tulalip, Nisqualli, Nez Perce, Flathead, Spokan, Pend d'Oreille, Cayuse, Paloos, Wallawalla, Quinaielt, Blackfeet, Chehalix, Chilkat, Chinook, Clackamas, Clallam, Lake, Klikitat, Coeur d'Alene, Cowlitz. Dwamish, Lummi, Muckleshoot, Quileute, Quaitso (Queet), Squaxon and Swinomish||75||M5||1637277||26 rolls|
|Colorado Superintendency 1861-1880|
|Dakota Superintendency 1861-1880||Bands of Sioux: Hunkpapa, Oglala, Yankton, Blackfee, Brule, Sisseton, Wahpeton, Yanktonai, San Arcs, Miniconjou, Two Kettles (Oohenonpa), Cut Head (Pabaska) and Santee||75||M1016||1549631||13 rolls|
|Nevada Superintendency 1861-1880||75||M0837||1637276||1 roll|
|Idaho Superintendency 1863-1880||Tribes: Nez Perce, Shoshone, Bannock, Coeur d'Alene, Kutenai, Pend d'Oreille and Spokan||75||M832||1580047||3 rolls|
|Arizona Superintendency 1863-1880||Tribes:Pima, Papago, Maricopa, Tame Apache, Papago, Yavapai, Walapai, Havasupai, Mojave, Yuma, Moqui Pueblo and Scattered Apache||75||M734||1694796||8 rolls|
|Montana Superintendency 1864-1880||Tribes: Blackfeet, Piegan, Blood (Kainah), Grosventre, Flathead, Kutenai, Pend d'Oreille, Crow, Assiniboin and Bands of Sioux||75||M833||1618090||3 rolls|
|Wyoming Superintendency 1869-1880||Tribes: Eastern Shoshoni, Bannock, Arapaho, Cheyenne and Sioux||75||M1016||1549631||13 rolls|
Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Press, .
Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington [District of Columbia]: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981.
Historical Sketches for Jurisdictional and Subject Headings Used for the Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880. National Archives Microcopy T1105.
Preliminary Inventory No. 163: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington, DC. Available online