Established by the American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-412), OST was created to improve the accountability and management of Indian funds held in trust by the federal government. As trustee, DOI has the primary fiduciary responsibility to manage both tribal trust funds and Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts.

The purpose of OST is to provide oversight, reform and coordination of the policies, procedures, systems and practices used by various agencies to manage Indian trust assets. This effort is integrally related to DOI's goal of meeting its responsibilities to American Indians.

The goals of OST include:

  1. to protect and preserve Indian trust assets and collect and accurately account for income due beneficiaries;
  2. to obtain agreement with all tribal and individual Indian account holders on the balances in their trust accounts in a manner that is fair to both the Indian community and the general public, does not impair or impede reform efforts, and does not result in reductions in Indian programs; and
  3. to provide timely and responsive customer services to account holders.