The Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA) is an appellate review body that exercises the delegated authority of the Secretary of the Interior to issue final decisions for the Department of the Interior in appeals involving Indian matters. Located within the Department's Office of Hearings and Appeals, IBIA is separate and independent from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs.
Through a two-person panel of administrative judges, IBIA has the authority to consider the following types of cases:
- Appeals from a variety of decisions rendered by BIA officials, including but not limited to decisions regarding the use of Indian trust lands (e.g., lease approval, enforcement, cancellation, and rental rate adjustment); the use of mineral resources; conveyances of rights-of-way on Indian lands; land sales, exchanges, or other encumbrances; trespass; taking land into trust; and disputes over the recognition of tribal officials for government-to-government relations between the Department and a tribe;
- Requests to reconsider final decisions of the Assistant Secretary to acknowledge, or decline to acknowledge, a group as an Indian tribe, issued under 25 C.F.R. Part 83 (2014);
- Appeals from Indian probate decisions of administrative law judges and Indian probate judges in OHA's Probate Hearings Division;
- Appeals from White Earth Reservation Land Settlement Act heirship determinations of an administrative judge in OHA's Hearings Division;
- Appeals from decisions of agency officials and administrative law judges in cases under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act; and
- Other appeals as provided by regulation or matters referred to IBIA by the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, or the Director of OHA.
IBIA is headed by a Chief Administrative Judge. Its decisions are final for the Department and may be appealed to the United States district courts.
Interior Board of Indian Appeals
Office of Hearings and Appeals
U.S. Department of the Interior
801 N. Quincy Street, Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22203
Thomas A. Blaser, Chief Administrative Judge
Robert E. Hall, Administrative Judge
Mary P. Thorstenson, Administrative Judge
Sara E. Costello, Docket Attorney
Cailan D. Remedios, Staff Attorney
Pamela J. Eichhorn, Paralegal Specialist
Margo M.L. Ellis, Legal Assistant