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History Colorado released its report on Fort Lewis Indian Boarding School

October 3, 2023

Dear Fort Lewis College Community, 

五年前,在FLC历史委员会的指导下,路易斯堡学院 began a journey to examine our institutional history. Drawing upon the wisdom of our entire College community, 我们探索了我们作为一所联邦印第安寄宿学校的起源,以及我们作为一所印第安人服务机构的历史赋予我们的责任.

委员会的工作导致我们的钟楼上的历史描述被删除,这些描述对刘易斯堡印第安寄宿学校进行了粉饰和不准确的描述, which operated in Hesperus, Colorado (30 miles west of the current site of FLC) from 1892 to 1909.  

To more completely understand the boarding school era, FLC’s leadership, 直接与南乌特印第安部落和乌特山地乌特部落的领导人合作, advocated for Colorado House Bill 22-1327——州政府立法,责成“历史科罗拉多州”调查科罗拉多州联邦印第安人寄宿学校里印第安人儿童遭受的创伤. The Bill also charged History Colorado to 调查在校期间死亡学生的死亡情况和可能的埋葬地点.  

Today, History Colorado made the full report publicly available. A link will also be available on the FLC Reconciliation website.

Given what we know about the federal Indian boarding school system, we anticipated the report's findings to be painful. Still, the results are very difficult to digest, and our hearts are heavy. 然而,FLC的领导层认为,治愈需要充分了解真相. 

Warning: The information below references death and physical and sexual abuse. 

Approximately 1,在1892年至1909年期间,来自20个部落的100名5-22岁的美国原住民学生参加了刘易斯堡印第安寄宿学校. 他们被迫离开家园,被剥夺了传统. The report covers:

  • 督学-路易斯堡印第安寄宿学校督学的任期. (1894-1903) – including Superintendent Breen, 在对学生和员工进行身体虐待和性虐待的公开调查后,他最终被迫结束了自己的职业生涯, which was widely publicized by The Denver Post in 1903.

  • 生活条件——描述路易斯堡印第安人寄宿学校的儿童由于资金不足和缺乏适当的设施和照料而经历的生活条件和常见健康问题. 许多学生从寄宿学校逃跑,进行其他形式的抵抗.

  • 学生死亡——档案记录显示,来自8个部落国家的31名学生在就读刘易斯堡印第安寄宿学校时死亡.

  • 墓地边界-遥感方法确定了墓地的边界和范围. The cemetery was first established and used by the U.S. Military between 1878 and 1891. 墓地位于老堡物业的东侧(对面是现在的建筑)。.

  • 墓地用途-在寄宿学校时期,墓地被用于学生的拘留和更大的社区用于基督教风格的葬礼. 遥感数据表明,寄宿学校于1911年关闭后,财产被转让给了科罗拉多州, 在整个20世纪中期,该墓地一直被社区使用,可能在1918年西班牙流感流行等事件期间最为活跃.

  • Burials - based on remote sensing data, 该报告的结论是,该墓地有350至400个墓葬,来自各个时代,其中46个印痕可能与儿童大小的坟墓一致. 报告指出,其他的坟墓可能是生活在该地区的其他社区的坟墓. The report found no evidence of overlapping or mass graves. Based on the will of the Tribal Nations who helped write the Bill, no ground-disturbing techniques have been used. 因此,我们对在寄宿学校发生的事情总是有挥之不去的疑问.

  • 研究局限性——报告指出,研究人员使用的技术并没有对地面进行x射线照射, nor does it indicate who may be buried there. Only excavation can determine actual burials. Researchers also noted that due to the condition of some of the archival data, 刘易斯堡印第安寄宿学校的学生出勤和死亡记录都不完整. 墓地的下一步安排由那些有孩子上寄宿学校的部落国家来决定. Our conversations with tribal leaders, thus far, 有没有表示他们想让那些被埋在那里的人不被分配.

Reconciling our past

Confronting our history requires an intentional focus on healing. The information in this report is upsetting for us as a community; it is particularly painful for our students and community members closely connected to this history.

Our campus Care Team has prepared a plan for our students and campus community. Resources and events can be found on our FLC Reconciliation page. 

In addition, our Native American & Indigenous Studies faculty have volunteered to offer their expertise. They will be available to meet with students, faculty, and staff to help interpret, discuss, and process the report today (October 3) from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in Jones, Room 105.

At FLC, the contradiction between our past and present is stark—today, 我们是美国原住民学生最杰出的教育机构之一,我们的目标是帮助美国原住民学生取得成功,并与部落国家建立关系. 我们是科罗拉多州唯一一所拥有两名部落国家公民的董事会成员的高等教育机构, 我们已经做出了一致的努力,以增加美国原住民教职员工在我们队伍中的代表性.  

But our work is not done. As our Board of Trustees recently codified in a resolution, 皇冠官方app下载仍然致力于我们的和解工作,重点是改善土著学生的福祉, increasing students' sense of belonging, fostering Indigenous student success, 坚持我们对部落国家和土著社区的责任.  

Our actions will not change the past, 但它们确实表明,我们理解我们的责任,我们愿意承担责任,帮助塑造一个更美好的未来.

Thank you for your support and participation in this vital work. Please let us know if you need any support personally as you process this news.


Tom Stritikus, President

Heather Shotton, Vice President for Diversity Affairs

Ernest House Jr., Trustee

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