Tribal Radio | By Sarah Flower

Key Points

  • History Colorado was directed to conduct an intensive research program on the Fort Lewis Indian Boarding School.
  • The research found that the school participated in the "outing system," where students were placed with families over summer vacations or for the duration of an entire school year, to work for under-market wages as an agricultural or domestic laborer.
  • The research also found that burial sites for children who died while attending the school were found.
  • The full report will be publicly released on October 3rd after the tribal nations impacted by this history have had time to review the findings.
  • The Fort Lewis Indian Boarding School was established in 1892 and closed in 1911.
  • The school was one of nine boarding schools in Colorado that were financially supported by the federal government from 1880-1920.
  • The school was attended by students from the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes.
  • The research found that the school was a place of abuse and neglect, and that many children died while attending the school.

(Photo - Three panels depicting former Indian boarding school life, at the Clocktower on the Fort Lewis College campus, will be removed September 6, 2021, after the school’s History Committee found them to be “inaccurate and disrespectful.” FLC leaders say the boarding school sought to “disrupt the identity of thousands of children and erase Indigenous cultures and languages.” Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

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