The Commission on Indian Affairs was created by statute in 1953 by the New Mexico State Legislature.

The statute established a state agency, the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA), which would serve as a vehicle between New Mexico’s governor, legislature, and the state’s seperate and distinct tribal groups. Former Governor Bill Richardson signed Executive Order No. 2003-022 on June 20, 2003, elevating the OIA to the Indian Affairs Department (IAD), a cabinet-level department.

In April 2004, House Bill 39 which formerly established the Indian Affairs Department by legislative statute, was passed and signed into law.

Section 9-21-1 to 9-21-15 of the Indian Affairs Department Act

Details the mission and functions of the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department