Press Release

History Colorado Publicly Releases Final Report from Federal Indian Boarding Schools Research

DENVER — October 3, 2023 — On October 3, 2023, History Colorado publicly released the final report under House Bill 22-1327 which was delivered to the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs on June 30, 2023. Entitled “Federal Indian Schools in Colorado, 1880-1920,” this report outlines findings of a yearlong Tribal consultation and research effort led by History Colorado’s State Archaeologist, Dr. Holly Norton.

This effort was required by HB 22-1327 which directed 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 to identify potential burial places of students who perished while attending the school.

History Colorado has provided the following documents to help contextualize and guide engagement with the full report:

“It is History Colorado’s intention that providing these resources will assist in thoughtful discourse and reporting on this challenging subject in such a way that it reduces the harm and retraumatization of the Indigenous communities connected to this painful history,” said Dawn DiPrince, President/CEO & State Historic Preservation Officer of History Colorado.

The final version of “Federal Indian Schools in Colorado, 1880-1920,” can be found here in History Colorado’s Federal Indian Boarding School Research Program Act Press Kit.

About the Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation
The Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation (OAHP) 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 144-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