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The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the
U.S. government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or U ...
. It is responsible for the management and conservation of most
federal lands Federal lands are lands in the United States owned by the Federal government of the United States, federal government. A long line of U.S. Supreme Court decisions Paul Rodgers, ''United States Constitutional Law: An Introduction'' (2011), p. 100-1 ...
and
natural resources , Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Se ...
, and the administration of programs relating to
Native Americans Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
,
Alaska Natives Alaska Natives or Alaskan Natives are indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific c ...
,
Native Hawaiians Native Hawaiians, or simply Hawaiians ( haw, kānaka ʻōiwi, , and ), are the of the . The traditional name of the Hawaiian people is ''Kānaka Maoli''. Hawaii was settled at least 800 years ago with the voyage of Polynesians from the . Th ...
, territorial affairs, and
insular area In the law of the United States The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accordi ...
s of the United States, as well as programs related to historic preservation. About 75% of federal public land is managed by the department, with most of the remainder managed by the
United States Department of Agriculture The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, ...
's
United States Forest Service The United States Forest Service (USFS) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands. The Forest Service manages of land. Major divisions of the agency in ...
. The department was created on March 3, 1849. The department is administered by the
United States secretary of the interior The United States secretary of the interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the . It is responsible for the management and ...
, who is a member of the
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
of the
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...

president
. The current secretary is
Deb Haaland Debra Anne Haaland (; born December 2, 1960) is an American politician serving as the 54th United States Secretary of the Interior. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, she served as chair of the Democratic Party of ...
. The
inspector general
inspector general
position is currently held by Mark Greenblatt. Despite its name, the Department of the Interior has a different role from that of the
interior ministries
interior ministries
of other nations, which are usually responsible for police matters and internal security. In the United States, national security and immigration functions are performed by the
Department of Homeland Security The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North Amer ...
primarily and the
Department of Justice A justice ministry, ministry of justice, or department of justice is a ministry or other government agency A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of governme ...
secondarily. The Department of the Interior has often been humorously called "the Department of Everything Else" because of its broad range of responsibilities.


History


Formation of the department

A department for domestic concern was first considered by the 1st United States Congress in 1789, but those duties were placed in the
Department of State The United States Department of State (DOS), or State Department, is an executive department of the U.S. federal government responsible for the nation's foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and ...
. The idea of a separate domestic department continued to percolate for a half-century and was supported by presidents from
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
to
James Polk James is a common English language surname and given name: *James (name), the typically masculine first name James * James (surname), various people with the last name James James or James City may also refer to: People * King James (disambiguati ...

James Polk
. The 1846–48
Mexican–American War The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the (''U.S. intervention in Mexico''), was an armed conflict between the United States and Second Federal Republic of Mexico, Mexico from 1846 ...

Mexican–American War
gave the proposal new steam as the responsibilities of the federal government grew. Polk's
Secretary of the Treasury The United States secretary of the treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with all financial and monetary matters relating to the federal government, and, until 2003, also included several major ...
, Robert J. Walker, became a vocal champion of creating the new department. In 1849, Walker stated in his annual report that several federal offices were placed in departments with which they had little to do. He noted that the
General Land Office The General Land Office (GLO) was an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the United States government responsible for Public domain (land), public domain lands in the United States. It was created in 1812 to ...
had little to do with the Treasury and also highlighted the
Indian Affairs office
Indian Affairs office
, part of the Department of War, and the
Patent Office A patent office is a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legi ...
, part of the
Department of State The United States Department of State (DOS), or State Department, is an executive department of the U.S. federal government responsible for the nation's foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and ...
. Walker argued that these and other bureaus should be brought together in a new Department of the Interior. A bill authorizing its creation of the department passed the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
on February 15, 1849, and spent just over two weeks in the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
. The department was established on March 3, 1849 (), the eve of President
Zachary Taylor Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850) was an American military leader who served as the 12th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or c ...

Zachary Taylor
's inauguration, when the Senate voted 31 to 25 to create the department. Its passage was delayed by Democrats in
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
who were reluctant to create more
patronage Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows on another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists su ...

patronage
posts for the incoming
Whig Whig or Whigs may refer to: Parties and factions In the British Isles * A pejorative nickname for the Kirk Party The Kirk Party were a radical Presbyterian faction of the Scotland, Scottish Covenanters during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. ...
administration to fill. The first Secretary of the Interior was
Thomas Ewing Thomas Ewing Sr. (December 28, 1789October 26, 1871) was a National Republican and Whig politician from Ohio Ohio is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Of the List of states and te ...

Thomas Ewing
. On Tuesday September 1, 2020, Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt signe
Secretary’s Order 3384
establishing th
Bureau of Trust Funds Administration (BTFA)
The BTFA initially reported to the assistant secretary of Indian affairs Tara ''Katuk'' Sweeney and assumed responsibility for financial operations functions formerly performed by the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) effective October 1, 2020.


Department responsibilities

As of mid-2004, the department managed 507 million acres (2,050,000 km2) of surface land, or about one-fifth of the land in the United States. It manages 476 dams and 348
reservoirs A reservoir (; from French language, French ''réservoir'' ) is most commonly an enlarged natural or artificial lake created using a dam to water storage, store water. Reservoirs can be created in a number of ways, including controlling a wate ...
through the
Bureau of Reclamation The United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and formerly the United States Reclamation Service, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees water resource management, specifically as it applies to the ...
, 410
national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...

national park
s, monuments, seashore sites, etc. through the
National Park Service The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mecha ...
, and 544 national
wildlife refuge A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, natural or nature preserve, or nature conservation area) is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna, or features of ...
s through the
Fish and Wildlife Service The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS or FWS) is an agency of the US federal government within the United States Department of the Interior, US Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural ...
. Several of the domestic concerns the department originally dealt with were gradually transferred to other departments. For example, the Department of Interior was responsible for water pollution control prior to the creation of the
Environmental Protection Agency A biophysical environment is a biotic Biotics describe living or once living components of a community; for example organisms, such as animals and plants. Biotic may refer to: *Life, the condition of living organisms *Biology, the study of life ...
. Other agencies became separate departments, such as the Bureau of Agriculture, which later became the Department of Agriculture. However, land and natural resource management, American Indian affairs, wildlife conservation, and territorial affairs remain the responsibilities of the Department of the Interior. The Department in January 2020 grounded its fleet of 810 DJI drones used to monitor wildlife and infrastructure over security concerns.


Native Americans

Within the Interior Department, the
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), also known as Indian Affairs (IA), is a United States federal government of the United States, federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, Department of the Interior. It is responsible for imp ...

Bureau of Indian Affairs
handles some federal relations with Native Americans, while others are handled by the Office of Special Trustee. The current acting assistant secretary for Indian affairs is
Lawrence S. Roberts Lawrence may refer to: Education Colleges and universities * Lawrence Technological University Lawrence Technological University (LTU), frequently referred to as Lawrence Tech, is a private university Private universities (and private colleg ...
, an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin. The department has been the subject of disputes over proper accounting for Native American Trusts set up to track the income and distribution of monies that are generated by the trust and specific Native American lands, which the government leases for fees to companies that extract oil, timber, minerals, and other resources. Several cases have sought an accounting of such funds from departments within the Interior and Treasury (such as the Minerals Management Service), in what has been a 15-year-old lawsuit. Some Native American nations have also sued the government over water-rights issues and their treaties with the US. In 2010 Congress passed the Claims Settlement Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-291), which provided $3.4 billion for the settlement of the '' Cobell v. Salazar'' class-action trust case and four Native American water rights cases.
The $3.4 billion will be placed in a still-to-be-selected bank and $1.4 billion will go to individuals, mostly in the form of checks ranging from $500 to $1,500. A small group, such as members of the Osage tribe who benefit from huge Oklahoma oil revenues, will get far more, based on a formula incorporating their 10 highest years of income between 1985 and 2009. As important, $2 billion will be used to buy trust land from Native American owners at fair market prices, with the government finally returning the land to tribes. Nobody can be forced to sell.Warren, James
"A Victory for Native Americans?"
''The Atlantic'', 7 June 2010.


Native American Secretaries

On March 16, 2021,
Deb Haaland Debra Anne Haaland (; born December 2, 1960) is an American politician serving as the 54th United States Secretary of the Interior. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, she served as chair of the Democratic Party of ...
, former U.S. representative from New Mexico, was sworn in as the first Native American to lead a cabinet level agency as Secretary of the Interior.


Operating units

* Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget ** Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs *** Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance *** Office of International Affairs *** Office of Native Hawaiian Relations *** Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment *** Office of Policy Analysis *** National Invasive Species Council ** Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, Finance, Performance and Acquisition *** Office of Budget *** Office of Financial Management *** Office of Planning and Performance Management *** Business Integration Office dministers the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS)*** Office of Acquisition and Property Management *** Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization ** Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Capital and Diversity *** Office of Human Resources *** Office of Occupational Safety and Health *** Office of Strategic Employee and Organizational Development *** Office of Civil Rights ** Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technology, Information and Business Services *** Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution *** Appraisal and Valuation Services Office *** Interior Business Center *** Office of Hearings and Appeals *** Office of Facilities and Administrative Services *** Office of the Chief Information Officer ** Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, Resources Protection and Emergency Services (DAS-PRE) ***
Office of Emergency Management An Office of Emergency Management (OEM), alternatively called an Emergency Management Office (EMO), or an Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in some areas, is an agency at the local, tribal, state, national or international level that holds respons ...
(OEM) *** Office of Law Enforcement and Security (OLES) *** Office of Wildland Fire *** Office of Aviation Services (OAS) *** Interagency Borderlands Coordinator ** Deputy Assistant Secretary for Natural Resources Revenue Management *** Office of Natural Resources Revenue * Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks **
National Park Service The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mecha ...
**
United States Fish and Wildlife Service The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS or FWS) is an agency of the United States Federal Government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of ...
* Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs ** Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management *** Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) *** Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) *** Office of Human Capital Management (OHCM) *** Office of Planning and Policy Analysis (OPPA) *** Office of Facilities, Environmental and Cultural Resources (OFECR) ** Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development *** Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) *** Office of Indian Gaming (OIG) *** Office of Self-Governance (OSG) **
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), also known as Indian Affairs (IA), is a United States federal government of the United States, federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, Department of the Interior. It is responsible for imp ...

Bureau of Indian Affairs
(BIA) *** Office of Indian Services (OIS) *** Office of Field Operations (OFO) *** Office of Justice Services (OJS) *** Office of Trust Services (OTS) **
Bureau of Indian Education The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), headquartered in the Main Interior Building The Main Interior Building, officially known as the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building, located in Washington, D.C., is the headquarters of the Uni ...
(BIE) ** Office of External Affairs *** Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs (OCLA) *** Office of Public Affairs (OPA) ** Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA) ** Office of Regulatory Management (ORM) * Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management **
Bureau of Land Management The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the . It is responsible for the management and ...
**
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is a branch of the United States Department of the Interior. It is the federal agency entrusted with the implementation and enforcement of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamat ...
**
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior, established in 2010 by Secretarial Order. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) states: "...the outer Continental Shelf is a vi ...
**
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE "Bessie") is an agency under the United States Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the . It is responsib ...
* Assistant Secretary for Water and Science **
United States Geological Survey The United States Geological Survey, abbreviated USGS and formerly simply known as the Geological Survey, is a scientific government agency, agency of the Federal government of the United States, United States government. The scientists of the ...
**
Bureau of Reclamation The United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and formerly the United States Reclamation Service, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees water resource management, specifically as it applies to the ...
**Central Utah Project Completion Act Office * Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs **
Office of Insular Affairs The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) is a unit of the United States Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the . It is responsible for the management and conservati ...
**Office of International Affairs **Ocean, Great Lakes and Coastal Activities Program Office * Solicitor ** Office of the Solicitor (SOL) *
Office of the Inspector General In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Wash ...
(OIG) ** Office of General Counsel ** Assistant Inspector General for Investigations *** Office of Investigations ** Assistant Inspector General for Audits, Inspections, and Evaluations *** Office of Audits, Inspections, and Evaluations ** Assistant Inspector General for Management *** Office of Management ** Associate Inspector General for External Affairs ** Associate Inspector General for Whistleblower Protection ** Strategy Management Office ** Associate Inspector General for Communications * Chief Information Officer * Special Trustee for American Indians * Federal Executive Boards *
Interior Museum The Interior Museum is a museum operated by the United States Department of the Interior and housed at the Department's headquarters at the Main Interior Building, Stewart Lee Udall Main Interior Building in Washington, D.C., on the first floor. W ...
*
National Indian Gaming Commission The National Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, ...
(NIGC)


Awards

DOI Convocation Honor Award is the most prestigious recognition that can be granted by the Department. The following awards are presented at the Honor Awards Convocation: * Safety and Health Award of Excellence & Aviation Safety Award * Distinguished Service Award * Citizen’s Award for Bravery * Valor Award


Controversy

Secretary of the Interior
Albert B. Fall
Albert B. Fall
was implicated in the
Teapot Dome The Teapot Dome scandal was a bribery scandal involving the administration of President of the United States, United States President Warren G. Harding from 1921 to 1923. United States Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Alber ...

Teapot Dome
scandal of 1921. He was convicted of bribery in 1929, and served one year in prison, for his part in the controversy. A major factor in the scandal was a transfer of certain oil leases from the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy to that of the Department of the Interior, at Fall's behest. Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt faced criticism for his alleged hostility to environmentalism, for his support of the development and use of federal lands by foresting, ranching, and other commercial interests, and for banning
The Beach Boys The Beach Boys are an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compo ...

The Beach Boys
from playing a 1983 Independence Day concert on the
National Mall The National Mall is a landscaped park within the National Mall and Memorial Parks National Mall and Memorial Parks (formerly known as National Capital Parks-Central) is an administrative unit of the National Park Service The National Park ...

National Mall
out of concerns of attracting "an undesirable element". His 1983 resignation was prompted by a speech in which he said about his staff: "I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent."556. James G Watt, US Secretary of the Interior.
"Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations" (1988) via ''bartleby.com'' and
Wayback Machine The Wayback Machine is a digital archive An archive is an accumulation of Historical document, historical records – in any media – or the physical facility in which they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have ...

Wayback Machine
.
RMOA - Document
/ref> Under the Administration of President
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the Un ...

George W. Bush
, the Interior Department's maintenance backlog climbed from $5 billion to $8.7 billion, despite Bush's campaign pledges to eliminate it completely. Of the agency under Bush's leadership, Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney has cited a "
culture of fear Culture of fear (or climate of fear) is the concept that people may incite fear Fear is an emotion induced by perceived danger or threat, which causes physiological changes and ultimately behavioral changes, such as mounting an aggressive res ...
" and of "ethical failure." Devaney has also said, "Simply stated, short of a crime, anything goes at the highest levels of the Department of Interior." Cart, Julie
"Bush legacy leaves uphill climb for U.S. parks"
''
Los Angeles Times The ''Los Angeles Times'' (abbreviated as ''LA Times'') is a daily newspaper A newspaper is a containing written and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields such as , ...

Los Angeles Times
'', January 25, 2009.


See also

* America's Great Outdoors Initiative *
Environmental policy of the United States The environmental policy of the United States is a federal governmental action to regulate activities that have an environmental impact in the United States. The goal of environmental policy is to protect the environment for future generations while ...
*
USA.gov USA.gov is the official of the . It is designed to improve the public's interaction with the US government by quickly directing website visitors to the services or information they are seeking, and by inviting the public to share ideas to impr ...
*
USAFacts USAFacts (c. 2017) is a non-profit organization and website that provides data and reports on the US population, its government's finances, and government's impact on society. History and background USAFacts was founded by former Microsoft CE ...


References


Further reading

* Black, Megan. '' The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power''. Harvard University Press, 2018. *Utley, Robert M. and Barry Mackintosh; ''The Department of Everything Else: Highlights of Interior History''; Dept. of the Interior, Washington, D.C.; 1989


External links

*
Department of the Interior
on USAspending.gov
Department of the Interior
in the
Federal Register The ''Federal Register'' (FR or sometimes Fed. Reg.) is the official journal A government gazette (also known as official gazette, official journal, official newspaper, official monitor or official bulletin) is a periodical publication that h ...

The Department of Everything Else: Highlights of Interior History


New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publicatio ...
, September 10, 2008 {{Authority control 1849 establishments in the United States Government agencies established in 1849
Interior Interior may refer to: Arts and media * Interior (Degas), ''Interior'' (Degas) (also known as ''The Rape''), painting by Edgar Degas * Interior (play), ''Interior'' (play), 1895 play by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck * The Interior (novel) ...