Press Release

History Colorado Issues Fourth Progress Report to Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs on House Bill 22-1327 Research

DENVER — June 1, 2023 — History Colorado’s State Archaeologist, Dr. Holly Norton, presented the fourth quarterly progress report about Federal Indian Boarding Schools in Colorado to the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA) on June 1, 2023. 

Luke Perkins, Manager of Communications and Public Relations
303.866.3670 | 

The report outlines the progress to date in implementing the Federal Indian Boarding School Research Program Act (HB 22-1327), which was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis on May 24, 2022. The act directs History Colorado to investigate the lived experiences of students at the one-time federal Native American boarding school in Hesperus, Colorado, also referred to as the Fort Lewis Indian Boarding School, as well as identify potential burial places of students who perished while attending the school.

The latest report assures the delivery of a final report to the CCIA Commissioners on or before June 30, 2023. In addition to assuring the delivery of the final report, Dr. Norton’s quarterly update provides notes on: 

  • A panel discussion held by the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing
  • A classroom discussion with Colorado Mesa University that Dr. Norton and her team participated in
  • A brief article Dr. Norton wrote on the attendance of Native youth to the State Industrial School for Boys that will appear in the fall edition of Historically JeffCo

A complete copy of this progress report can be found here. This report is a continuation of the previous reports under the HB 22-1327, which History Colorado provided to the CCIA on September 8, 2022, December 15, 2022, and March 16, 2023.

Next Steps Under HB 22-1327
History Colorado plans to deliver a final report to CCIA, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe on or before June 30, 2023, as mandated by HB 22-1327.

This report is intended to provide factual information to CCIA and the descendants of the tribes that are directly impacted by the events, physical and emotional abuse, and deaths that occurred at the Federal Indian Boarding schools in Colorado.

The CCIA determined during the June 1, 2023 meeting that the June 30 final report would not be concurrently released publicly. Information from the report may be released publicly later in the summer, at the discretion of the CCIA.

After delivering this final report on or before June 30, 2023, History Colorado will continue to consult with Tribal partners and CCIA in creating recommendations for necessary immediate actions, long-term goals, and necessary legislation as applicable.

On or before September 1, 2023, History Colorado shall issue the set of recommendations and an executive summary of the final report on its website to make it publicly available. Additionally, written copies of these recommendations, and the executive summary, shall be delivered to those directly impacted by operation of this boarding school including the following as stated in HB 22-1327:

  • CCIA
  • The Southern Ute Indian Tribe
  • The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • The Colorado State House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee
  • The Colorado State Senate’s Judiciary Committee
  • The Joint Budget Committee of the General Assembly of Colorado
  • The Office of Governor Jared Polis
  • The Board of Trustees of Fort Lewis College
  • Any state agency that is subject of a recommendation

About the Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation
The Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation is a part of History Colorado’s State Historic Preservation Office. Through the Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, History Colorado operates the office of the State Archaeologist which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and access to archaeology and historic preservation resources. The Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation creatively engages Coloradans and their guests in partnerships to discover, preserve, and take pride in our architectural, archaeological, and other historic places by providing statewide leadership and support to our partners in archaeology and historic preservation.

About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 143-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to archaeology and historic preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado. 

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and 10 other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information. #HistoryColorado