Indian Affairs | Midwest

Midwest Region Overview

Tammie Poitra DRD-Trust
Regional Director
Tammy Poitra

Click here to view the Presentation Slides from the 2016 Partners In Action Conference.

Click here to view the Presentation Slides from the 2015 Partners In Action Conference.

The Midwest Region serves 35 tribal governments and reservations and has a jurisdiction that covers approximately 4.6 million acres located within the states of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Regional Office is presently located in Bloomington, Minnesota.There are also three agencies and one agency/field office within the region which are, the Michigan Agency located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; the Minnesota Agency located in Bemidji, Minnesota; and the Great Lakes Agency located in Ashland, Wisconsin. The agency/field office is the Red Lake Agency located in Red Lake, Minnesota. Of these, the Great Lakes, Minnesota and Michigan agencies are multi-tribe agencies while the Red Lake Agency serves only the Red Lake Tribe and Red Lake Reservation. In addition to the agencies and the agency/field office, seven tribes are provided direct services by the Regional Office.

The Office of the Regional Director provides organizational leadership and management, ensures the coordination of all assigned programs to achieve the overall mission of the Bureau and fulfills responsibilities delegated by the Secretary of the Interior through the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs. The Regional Director acts primarily on behalf of the Secretary and/or Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in upholding and maintaining the government-to-government relationship with tribes in fulfilling the Federal trust responsibilities.

The Midwest Region also has two Deputy Directors that assist in support of the Regional Director, and oversee both Trust and Indian Services programs and activities within the region.

Regional Office Programs

Environmental, Cultural Resources and Safety

The Division of Environmental, Cultural Resources and Safety (DECRS) assures compliance with applicable environmental and cultural resource statutes. The Division reviews the BIA and tribal projects; roads (IRR and ARRA projects), realty (land acquisitions in trust, tribal business, residential, agricultural and oil & gas leases, conveyances, acquisitions and disposals, mortgages, rights of way, reservation proclamations), Fee to Trust applications, facilities, forestry (timber sales, free use cutting permits, forest development projects, timber salvage). The Division also coordinates with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to address Safety and environmental compliance. The Division also addresses safety issues in the workplace and coordinates with the BIE to address Safety and environmental compliance.

Lockbox Coordination

The Program Analyst - Trust Coordination oversees the lockbox process to ensure transactions and distributions are processed and completed timely and accurately at the region and agencies. This involves the coordination with the agencies to resolve lockbox exceptions and assist in resolving problems and issues in the distribution of trust funds. The lockbox liaison also assists in resolving other issues related to the allocation and distribution of income associated with lockbox exceptions. The lockbox liaison works with all regional trust programs as well as the Regional Director, Deputy Regional Directors, the Office of the Special Trustee and other Trust Project managers as well as agency trust programs to process trust system corrections.


The Division of Fee-to-Trust focuses on processing fee-to-trust applications. The Division was initiated in 2004 by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Region and Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Since then, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians have joined. The Division is funded through each tribe's respective Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) funds.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The cultural importance of wild rice as well as its attraction as a traditional food source is the focus of the many restoration efforts. "Manomin" or wild rice, well known for its taste and nutrition, is a traditional grain of many Midwest Region tribes. Wild rice's ecological benefits include providing habitat for species ranging from moths to moose and snails to rails.

Forestry and Fire

The Forestry and Fire branch oversees 1,046,935 acres of forest land on Reservations and Public Domain Lands in the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. The Branch is responsible for providing coordination, management, planning, oversight, and monitoring for activities related to development, enhancement and protection of trust forest resources. The Fire Program ensures the protection of property and natural resources from Wildland fires as well as providing prevention, education, supporting forest management through the use of prescribed fires.


The Branch of Probate coordinates and implements the Bureau's probate process to meet the Secretary's fiduciary responsibilities to tribes and individual Indians. The Division is responsible for developing action plans and systems for probate programs and for developing and implementing improvements to the probate process.

Real Estate Services

The Real Estate Services Division provides assistance, oversight, monitoring, and coordination for the protection, management, planning, conservation, development and utilization of trust and restricted Federal Indian-owned lands that include acquisition, disposal, tenure, rights-of-way, permits, leases and sales. The Realty Division manages the Bureau's program to accept real estate on behalf of tribes under the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRCA) and similar programs. The Division manages the Cadastral Survey program for the determination of legal boundaries on Indian land.


The Branch of Roads (Transportation) assists the Midwest tribes in administering the Preliminary Engineering, Construction, Construction Engineering, and Maintenance activities associated with the facilities identified in their respective tribal Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) inventories.

Self Determination

The Self-Determination contracting staff provides guidance and technical assistance to Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and Agency staff in the implementation of all aspects of Public Law 93-638, as amended. The Division has the responsibility for the award, modification, administration and close-out of all self-determination contracts awarded to tribes and tribal organizations under the administrative jurisdiction of the Midwest Region.

Social Services

The Midwest Region Division of Human Services has two Masters of Social Workers who are responsible for working in coordination with the Minnesota Agency and Great Lakes Agency Fiduciary Trust Officers through coordinated efforts to ensure the management and implementation of DOI's trust responsibility for all supervised Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts.


The Housing Improvement Program (HIP) is designed to serve as a safety net program, targeting those neediest individual Indians residing within approved service areas who cannot meet income requirements set forth by tribes administering Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing programs.This program improves the quality of life of Indians qualified to participate in the program by eliminating substandard housing and homelessness on or near federally recognized reservation communities. The HIP provides funding for needed housing repairs and renovations of existing homes, construction of a modest replacement home, or construction of a modest home for families who do not own a home but have ownership or lease of sufficient land suitable for housing. The HIP meets the need of those individual Indians residing within a tribe’s approved service area. Program funding is available to federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations for use in providing program services to Indian applicants who meet the eligibility criteria in 25 CFR Part 256.

Tribal Operations

Tribal Operations supports and assists Indian tribes in three primary areas: tribal enrollment; tribal relations; and tribal claims. Staff provide research and preparation of Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) forms, develops or updates policies, regulations and guidelines concerning tribal enrollment systems and processes, enrollment appeals for members of tribes that have adverse enrollment actions by Bureau officials. Staff also review and approve tribal organic documents as required by Federal (25 U.S.C. 476) or Tribal law and assist in the preparation of membership rolls for special (Secretarial) elections or for per capita distributions, and administration of special elections per 25 C.F.R.

Water Resources

The Region's Water Resource Division works to assist tribes with water management or water encroachment issues, dams which are part of the DOI Safety of Dams Program, and reviews hydroelectric dams which may be impacting tribal resources. The Division also acts as a liaison for the Indian Affairs - Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development- Division of Energy and Minerals Resources Management.