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Native American Boarding Schools

Concerning former Native American boarding schools in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2022 Regular Session
State Government
Bill Summary

The act establishes the federal Indian boarding school research program (research program) in the state historical society, known as history Colorado, to research and make recommendations to promote Coloradans' understanding of the physical and emotional abuse and deaths that occurred at federal Indian boarding schools in Colorado, including the victimization of families of youth forced to attend the boarding schools and the intergenerational impacts of the abuse. In addition to consultation with the Southern Ute Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe described in the act, history Colorado shall consult with the Colorado commission of Indian affairs (commission) and may consult with any other federally recognized Indian tribe.

As part of the research program, the act requires history Colorado to research events, abuse, and deaths that occurred at the federal Indian boarding school at Fort Lewis, which was known as the Fort Lewis Indian school. History Colorado may enter into an agreement with a third party to conduct parts of the research. History Colorado is required to provide the commission, Southern Ute Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe with periodic updates about its research and is required to deliver a final report to the commission, Southern Ute Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe by June 30, 2023.

The act requires history Colorado, after delivering its final report, to facilitate consultation with the commission, the Southern Ute Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to develop recommendations necessary to better understand the abuse and victimization that occurred at, and is related to, federal Indian boarding schools and to support healing in tribal communities. History Colorado must make the recommendations publicly available.

The department of human services (department) owns and operates a regional center on the property that was formerly the Teller institute federal Indian boarding school. The act requires the department to vacate the property and sell all or a portion of the property, or transfer all or a portion of the property, to a state institution of higher education, a local government, a state agency, or a federally recognized tribe in Colorado. The department is not permitted to sell or transfer the property until after the identification and mapping of any graves of students buried at the federal Indian boarding school that was located on the property and until after the department develops a plan, in consultation with tribal governments, to acknowledge the abuse and victimization of students and families related to the operation of the school.

The act appropriates $618,611 from the general fund to the department of higher education for use by history Colorado for the research program.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details