Between 1996 and 2011 the State Archives received a special appropriation from the Governor’s Office to locate and copy records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs related to South Dakota reservations. Records held by the National Archives are voluminous, difficult to use, and largely inaccessible to people who cannot travel to Washington, D.C. to do research.

700 rolls of previously-microfilmed records were purchased, and microfilming has begun on several sets of records which include over 100,000 pages of documents. Together with previously-held material, the State Archives now has 1042 rolls of microfilm, 13 collections of unpublished records, and 85 government publications dating from 1824 to 1989. Another 263 rolls of microfilm are held by state university libraries in South Dakota.

Records include correspondence and reports of the field agencies in Dakota Territory and South Dakota from 1861 to the early 1900s; Indian censuses from 1880 to 1940; and Army records related to Indian affairs in the region from 1861 to 1891.