Skip to main content

Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) microfilm

Identifier: MSS-301

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the correspondence of the Office of Indian Affairs with the Michigan Superintendency, Arizona Superintendency, and Agents at Mackinac (MI), Sault Ste. Marie (MI), LaPointe (WI), Chippewa Agency (MN), and the Chippewa Agency of Crow Wing (MN). It also documents Ratified Treaties of 1854-1855 and the Adjutant General's Office reports on the Returns of Military Forces encamped at Ft. Brady (MI). Also included are microfilmed copies of the Indian Census Rolls from 1885-1940.

These microcopied records are part of the NARA Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are other census rolls spread throughout Record Group 75. Most of the census rolls were prepared for a specific purpose, such as the determination of those eligible for a land allotment or per capita payments. Indian census rolls are also in Record Group 48, Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior. Additional information regarding the records of the Office of Indian Affairs is available at the NARA website:

This collection is arranged by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Record Group Headers and the subgroups are arranged by the microfilm publication numbers. The items in each subgroup are in numerical order by the microfilm roll number.

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs:

Publication M1 -- Records of the Michigan Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1814-1851.

Publication M21 -- Letters Sent by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881.

Publication M234A -- Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881. (Rolls 1-200).

Publication M234B -- Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881. (Rolls 201-400).

Publication M234C -- Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881. (Rolls 401-600).

Publication M234D -- Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881. (Rolls 601-800).

Publication M348 -- Report Books of the Office of Indian Affairs, 1838-1885.

Publication M574 -- Special Files of the Office of Indian Affairs, 1807-1904.

Publication M595A -- Indian Census Rolls: 1885-1940 (Rolls 1-200).

Publication M595B -- Indian Census Rolls: 1885-1940 (Rolls 201-400).

Publication M856 -- Records of the Central Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1813-1878.

Publication T494 -- Documents Relating to the Negotiation of Ratified and Unratified Treaties With Various Indian Tribes, 1801-1869.

Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917:

Publication M617A -- Returns From U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916. Rolls 1-200.

General Records of the United States Government:

Publication M668 -- Ratified Indian Treaties, 1722-1869.


  • 1780 - 1940


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions. Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain. The collection is copies of material housed at the National Archives and Records Administration.


Indian affairs were administered by the Office of the Secretary of War from 1789 to 1824. The Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) was established in 1824 as a separate office aligned within the War Department. In 1832 Congress established the position of Commissioner of Indian Affair and jurisdiction for the OIA was transferred to the newly created Department of the Interior in 1849. With this change in bureaucratic alignment the Commissioner of Indian Affairs no longer reported to the Secretary of War and began reporting to the Secretary of Interior. In 1947 the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) was renamed the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

Superintendencies and Agencies were the two principal field jurisdictions of OIA during the 19th century. Superintendents held the general responsibility for Indian affairs in specific geographic area. Their duties included supervision of relations between the U.S. Government and citizens and the Indian tribes, as well as, the conduct and accounts of the Indian agents within their jurisdiction. Agents were responsible for the affairs of one tribe or reservation. Until about 1878 most agents were accountable to a superintendent, although some reported directly to the OIA in Washington, D.C. In 2014, the BIA is still aligned under the Department of Interior and is responsible for the administration and management of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans, Native American Tribes and Alaska Natives, and oversees the administration of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

This historical note was compiled utilizing information retrieved from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website. For additional historical information please consult their website at


150 Reels

Language of Materials



The materials in this collection are arranged by National Archives Record Group and Publication number and in numerical order by reel.

Other Finding Aids

To locate the original, complete finding aids for each publication from the National Archives and Records Administration, follow these steps:

1. Open this website on your web browser: 2. Click on the 'Microfilm' tab. 3. Enter the NARA Publication Number (ex. M21) in the Search box and click on 'Search' 4. Click on Publication Title (it appears as a hyperlink) 5. Click on Publication Details in the right-hand corner to open the PDF of the NARA Publication Finding Aid.

Existence and Location of Originals

Original materials are maintained at The National Archives Building in Washington, DC (Archives I). Archives I houses textual and microfilm records relating to American Indians.

National Archives and Records Administration 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20408-0001


Related Archival Materials

Researchers utilizing this collection, MSS-301: Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) microfilm, should also consider looking at MSS-308: Bernard Peters papers.

Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) microfilm
Glenda K. Ward
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives Repository

Harden Learning Resources Center 126
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette 49855 United States
906-227-1333 (Fax)


This collection guide includes collections from member organizations of UPLINK (the Upper Peninsula Digital Network) as well as the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives. UPLINK collections document the history of the Upper Peninsula broadly, while the Central UP & NMU Archives focuses on such topics as Northern Michigan University history, the local iron mining industry, and the politics, economics, religion, environment, and culture of the Central Upper Peninsula region.

These finding aids will give you an overview of the contents and context of each collection. Finding aids only exist for collections that each organization has shared with UPLINK or (in the case of the NMU Archives) for processed collections. For a more comprehensive list of collections that might help with your research, please contact the relevant heritage organization(s) directly.

Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave. • Marquette, MI 49855-5301 • 906–227–1000
© 2018 by the NMU Board of Trustees. NMU is an equal opportunity institution.