A Second Century of Dishonor : Federal Inequities and California Tribes, ch.VI

VI. The Unequal Administrative Attention Given
To California Indians by the BIA

Over the last two decades the BIA has been downsizing. The number of administrative personnel has declined from about 16,000 to between 10,000 and 11,000 in recent years. The BIA has experienced cutbacks in funding in real terms, as outlays of funding have not kept pace with inflation. Furthermore, the BIA, under the policy of self-determination, has been shifting some personnel positions to agencies and tribal governments. Nevertheless, recent statistics for 1992 show that California Indians are served by one of the lowest per capita BIA employee ratios and the lowest administrative square footage of any area office.

BIA Personnel Distribution by Area

BIA personnel are distinguished between education and non-education personnel. Most areas have many personnel working in education, and most are teachers or education support staff. Forty-six percent of BIA staff are involved in education, although some areas such as Juneau, Billings, Minneapolis, Muskogee, and Eastern report very few education personnel. The distribution of BIA personnel by area office is given below for the year 1992. In order to calculate the 1992 per capita distribution of BIA employees, the 1991 BIA Indian service population figures were used. The BIA calculates the service population every other year on the odd years.

                    BIA                    Per Capita
Employees BIA Employees

Aberdeen 1,794 .0202 Albuquerque 1,052 .0197 Anadarko 432 .0111 Eastern 152 .0037 Juneau 232 .0027 Billings 1,069 .0285 Phoenix 2,017 .0227 Minneapolis 295 .0051 Muskogee 225 .0010 Navajo 4,226 .0256 Portland 1,207 .0145 Sacramento 255 .0070 (.0035)

The areas with the smallest per capita BIA employees are Eastern, Juneau, Minneapolis, Muskogee, and Sacramento. Sacramento has .007 BIA employees per person, but since we estimate that California Indians are undercounted by at least one-half, California's rate is better estimated as .0035. Aberdeen, Albuquerque, Anadarko, Billings, Phoenix, Navajo and Portland all have significantly higher per capita BIA employees than the other areas. After accounting for population differences, BIA employee distribution among the area offices is very uneven, with the favored areas getting more than four to six times the rate of BIA employees than the smaller group. Sacramento is among the under-served areas, and only Muskogee and Juneau have per capita BIA ratios less than California Indians.

Administrative Space By Area

An indirect measure of administrative attention and capability is the amount of square footage of office space maintained by an organization, or in this case by the BIA. The BIA maintains living quarters, schools, and non-education buildings to carry out its mission. For the year 1992, we have square footage data for BIA education and non-education purposes. After excluding quarters and non-maintained buildings, the BIA areas collectively maintained 18,490,736 square feet of building space. Education buildings comprised 86 percent of the total building space maintained by the BIA areas. The Sacramento area maintained no space in education buildings. Juneau was the only other BIA area that did not maintain education buildings. Of all the areas, Sacramento had the smallest amount of building space, and the least per capita square footage serving its Indian population.

Area Per Capita
Square Footage Square Footage

Aberdeen 4,018,880 45 Anadarko 264,788 7 Billings 611,491 16 Juneau 99,403 1 Minneapolis 561,316 10 Muskogee 375,799 2 Phoenix 2,088,666 23 Sacramento 18,160 0.5 (0.25) Albuquerque 1,381,436 26 Navajo 7,069,317 43 Portland 1,014,293 12 Eastern 987,187 24

18,490,736 Average 18.5

Sacramento area has the lowest BIA administrative square footage and the lowest per capita square footage of all BIA areas. Sacramento has one-half square foot of building per California Indian, but taking into account the undercount of California Indians by 100 percent, then Sacramento area square footage drops to 0.25 per person. BIA administrative space for California Indians is only 1/74th of the national average for all areas. Only Juneau and Muskogee, both of which have small administrative space, come near the California figure. The absence of administrative space is one indirect measure of the attention that the BIA has given to working out the problems and issues of the California Indians. These data indicate that California Indians are the least administratively served Indians within the BIA.


California Indians suffer one of the lowest ratios of BIA employees to Indian service population, and Sacramento area has the smallest administrative building space of all BIA areas. With relatively few BIA personnel and little administrative space, California Indians are among the least served, if not the least served, Indian groups in the nation. Low levels of personnel and inadequate space most likely inhibit BIA officials and tribal leaders from effectively addressing the administrative, social, and economic issues that confront all California Indian communities.

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Last Updated :  Monday, September 23, 1996