The Black and Indian Mission Office is comprised of three distinct but inter-related organizations, each with its own purpose and history, but all seeking to fulfill the one Mission to the Missions! Founded by the Catholic bishops of the United States, each organization cooperates with local diocesan communities to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and respond to real and pressing needs on the ground. Read more and join us in our Mission to the Missions!
- Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions (established 1874)
- Commission for the Catholic Missions (established 1884)
- Catholic Negro-American Mission Board (established 1907, united with BIMO 1980)
The task of the Church in our time is to be the presence of Jesus Christ to Native peoples, providing support, solace, encouragement and the Gospel of salvation. She also has the task of defending the dignity of Native Americans, deepening their self-respect as children of God, and insisting on that same respect for Native Americans from wider American culture.
—Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. (Prairie Band Potawatomi), Chairman, USCCB Subcommittee on Native American Affairs & BIMO Board member
The three organizations of the Black and Indian Mission Office seek to “insist on that same respect” for African American, Native American, and Alaska Natives through advocacy on the national scene.
The kinds and needs of advocacy have changed through the years, but it’s been a priority since the first day of the “Office for the Catholic Indian Commissioner” in the 1870s. Stretching back to the days of President Ulysses Grant’s so-called “Peace Policy,” BIMO Executive Directors have interacted with the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, located just a few blocks from our office in Washington.
We are also committed to advocacy on the national Catholic scene. The Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions will be the sole funding organization for a new Associate Director for Native American Affairs in the United States Conference for Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church. We also give substantial financial support to help facilitate the excellent work of the National Black Catholic Congress, headquartered in Baltimore, and the Tekakwitha Conference organization, headquartered in Alexandria Louisiana.