Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Colleagues Call for Hearing on Bill to Investigate Injustices at Native American Boarding Schools

May 20, 2022

Recent report revealed five Native American boarding schools operated in Colorado, as recently as the 1980s, aimed at eliminating Native culture

Hickenlooper co-sponsors bill to investigate past injustices of the federal government’s boarding school program

Washington, D.C. – Following a Department of the Interior report revealing five government-run Native American boarding schools in Colorado that operated as recently as the 1980s, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs requesting a hearing on the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907). The bill, which Hickenlooper co-sponsors, would establish a formal commission to investigate, document, and acknowledge the federal government’s past injustices, including attempts to terminate Native cultures, religions, and languages; assimilation practices; and human rights violations. 

The commission would also develop recommendations for Congress to aid in healing the historical and intergenerational trauma passed down in Native families and communities, and provide a forum for victims to speak about personal experiences tied to these human rights violations.  

“We can’t undo the horrifying campaign to wipe out Native American culture, but we must acknowledge the past, investigate these atrocities, and begin to understand their full repercussions,” said Hickenlooper.  

Full text of the letter can be found HERE.    

The DOI report, released last Wednesday, found evidence of more than 500 deaths of students at the boarding schools nationwide. Many children were forcibly removed from their homes to attend these boarding schools, which aimed to erase Native culture. 

The report identified five Native American boarding schools that once operated in Colorado: 

  • Fort Lewis Indian Boarding School in Hesperus, 1892-1956
  • Good Shepherd Industrial School in Denver, 1886-1914
  • Grand Junction Indian School in Grand Junction, 1886-1911
  • Southern Ute Boarding School in Ignacio, 1886-1981
  • Ute Mountain Boarding School in Towaoc, 1907-1942


Recent Press Releases