AIRR contains retired Indian Affairs records from BIA agencies and OST offices all over the nation. Records—from as far back as the 1700s—include trust, education and other historic Indian Affairs records. The only Indian records not stored at AIRR are active records at DOI offices and those that have become legal property of NARA and will remain at NARA facilities around the nation.The facility continues to receive boxes from the field as active records become inactive. A total of over 200,000 indexed boxes had been sent to AIRR for permanent storage by the end of fiscal year 2012. In the past three years, the monthly average of boxes received has been 1,157.
Each standard records center box holds one cubic foot of material; one cubic foot holds approximately 2,500 sheets of paper.
OST Records Management Video (Runtime: 5:00; released May 2010)
May 26, 2010
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VOICEOVER: While new Indian trust records are created every day, there are records dating back to 1800s.
This program explains the life cycle of Indian trust records—records that are managed by the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and maintained and preserved deep in limestone caves in the American Indian Records Repository.
VOICEOVER: Aliza works for a Bureau of Indian Affairs Realty Office. She is one of the 1,500 records contacts in B-I-A and O-S-T program offices who has been delegated responsibility as a first point of contact on records management. She provides guidance to her program staff and her manager on records management issues.
VOICEOVER: Aliza’s records management training taught her:
• to identify a record from a non-record and a fiduciary trust record from a general trust record
• the correct way to label file folders and arrange them in a filing system that complies with the Indian Affairs Records Schedule
• when and how to ship inactive records—those no longer needed for everyday business—to the American Indian Records Repository, which is called air [AIRR]. AIRR is located in Lenexa, Kansas.
VOICEOVER: When inactive records are to be sent to AIRR, a Move Plan Package, which includes an inventory of the file folders, must be prepared and approved by O-S-T’s Office of Trust Records, also referred to as O-T-R.
VOICEOVER: To begin the process of sending inactive records to AIRR, Aliza places file folders—organized by record series number—into Federal Records Center boxes. The files are in the same order they were arranged in the filing cabinet. She doesn’t mix file folders labeled with different records series numbers within a box. Then she submits her Move Plan Package to her O-T-R Regional Records Liaison for review.
VOICEOVER: All twelve B-I-A regions have regional records liaisons who provide records contacts, like Aliza, with guidance and technical assistance.
VOICEOVER: After the regional records liaison reviews the plan and required changes are made, Aliza mails it to O-T-R in Albuquerque for processing.
When received, O-T-R’s program support assistant assigns an O-T-R accession number to the Move Plan Package for tracking purposes and future reference. Then the plan is routed to O-T-R's director for final review and approval.
When Aliza receives final approval, she completes the preparation of the boxes, putting the move plan package in the first box.
VOICEOVER: Program offices ship records to AIRR via a third party carrier that uses a point-to-point tracking system.
VOICEOVER: O-T-R staff members compare boxes received at AIRR with the Move Plan Package and inventory and then confirms with Aliza that her boxes have been received.
VOICEOVER: AIRR staff index the contents of each box into the Box Index Search System. BISS is an electronic database used by researchers to find records for B-I-A and O-S-T customers. BISS is also used to search for records required by tribal attorneys, Department of Justice personnel and solicitors from the Department of the Interior.
Surveillance cameras are used in the research areas to insure the safety of records.
VOICEOVER: After they are indexed, Aliza receives a final inventory for each box of records. She also receives a National Archives and Records Administration Records Transmittal and Receipt Form, the S-F 135, and a NARA Transfer Number, which is unique to a box of records. NARA uses this transfer number to track stored boxes.
VOICEOVER: AIRR is a cooperative effort of the Department of the Interior and NARA, built to NARA archival quality standards, which means temperature, humidity and lighting are controlled to provide the least negative effect upon paper documents.
VOICEOVER: Access to AIRR, and Indian records stored there, must be approved by the O-T-R Director.
VOICEOVER: Security at the entrance to AIRR is provided by a Department of Homeland Security contractor. Everyone entering and leaving must pass through the metal detector at the guard post. All visitors must show identification and sign in when entering and sign out when leaving AIRR. Remember, no program records for B-I-A,
O-S-T and Indian Affairs can be destroyed.
VOICEOVER: No records stored at AIRR can leave the facility. If Aliza needs records that have been sent to AIRR, she’ll receive copies of those records. In most cases, she will receive the copies within 24 to 48 hours of her request.
That’s pretty good, when you consider there are over 190,000 boxes of Indian records stored at AIRR.
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