Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Indian Health Service


(Record Group 513)
1955-82

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 513.1 Administrative History
  • 513.2 Records of the Division of Indian Health 1955-62
  • 513.3 Records of the Portland, OR, Field Office of the Indian Health Service 1961-69
  • 513.4 Textual Records (General) 1961-82

513.1 Administrative History

Established: As a component of the Health Services and Mental Health Administration (HSMHA), Public Health Service (PHS), Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), by HEW reorganization order, effective October 31, 1968.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Office of Indian Affairs (1909-47) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA, 1947-55), Department of the Interior:

  • Education Division (health functions, 1909-24)
  • Medical Division (1924-31)
  • Health Division (1931-40)
  • Health Division, Community Services Branch (1940-49)
  • Branch of Health, Community Services Division (1949-55)
In the Public Health Service, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare:
  • Division of Indian Health, Bureau of Medical Services (1955-67)
  • Division of Indian Health, Bureau of Health Services (1967-68)
  • Division of Indian Health, Bureau of Health Services, HSMHA (1968)

Transfers: To Health Resources Administration, PHS, by HEW reorganization order, July 1, 1973; with PHS to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by Department of Education Organization Act (93 Stat. 695), October 17, 1979; to operating health agency status within PHS, by HHS reorganization order, January 24, 1988.

Functions: Administers federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Related Records:
Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, RG 75.
Records of the Public Health Service, 1912-1968, RG 90.
Records of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, RG 514.

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513.2 Records of the Division of Indian Health
1955-62

History: Responsibility for health of Indians who had submitted to federal authority and become wards of the United States initially vested in the Office of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, redesignated Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1947. The function was administered locally (at the agency and school level), except for the period 1873-77, when a Medical and Educational Division was in operation, until the appointment of a medical supervisor in the Education Division in 1909. In 1924 a separate Medical Division was established, which became the Health Division in 1931. Health Division assigned to Community Services Branch, 1940. Redesignated Branch of Health, Community Services Division, 1949.

Public Health Service (see RG 90) had been operating, on behalf of BIA, agency and school clinics and hospitals and had been providing other itinerant medical services since 1926. On July 1, 1955, the responsibility for Indian health care was formally transferred to PHS, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, where it was vested in the Division of Indian Health, Bureau of Medical Services. Upon abolishment of the Bureau of Medical Services by HEW reorganization order, June 29, 1967, pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1966, effective June 25, 1966, the Division of Indian Health was assigned to the newly created Bureau of Health Services, which became a component of the newly established Health Services and Mental Health Administration, by HEW reorganization order, April 1, 1968. In HSMHA reorganization, effective October 31, 1968, Division of Indian Health redesignated Indian Health Service. See 513.1.

Textual Records: Division correspondence, 1955-58. Administrative files of the Environmental Sanitation Branch, 1959-62.

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513.3 Records of the Portland, OR, Field Office of the Indian
Health Service
1961-69

Textual Records (in Seattle): Retained copies of vital statistics reports on Native Americans that were submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1961-69.

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513.4 Textual Records (General)
1961-82

Subject files of the Indian Health Service, Health Services and Mental Health Administration, 1965-72. Environmental Health Program project files, 1961-82.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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