It's time to uncover the dark history of what truly happened at "Indian" boarding schools in Colorado.

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Colorado "Indian" Boarding Schools

According to a report from Axios, in the state of Colorado there were 5 boarding schools for "Indians" AKA Native Americans:

  • 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)

These 5 Colorado boarding schools sought to completely erase Native American culture by indoctrinating children into Euro-American culture. The boarding schools in Colorado followed the motto of Pennslyvania's Carlyle School, “kill the Indian to save the man.”

Grand Junction's "Indian" Boarding School

The original name of the school that housed Native American children was Grand Junction Indian School.

In later years, the school would come to be known as the Teller Indian School and later the Teller Institute, after U.S. Senator Henry Teller of Colorado, who was "instrumental in passing legislation for the creation of the school," according to the Mesa County Library.

The building that was once the Teller Institute still stands today and is currently being used as the Grand Junction Regional Complex, which serves as a residential facility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Colorado Indian Boarding School Horrors

If you're thinking that Native Americans willingly sent their children to these boarding schools, you'd be wrong. Often times Native American children were hogtied and kidnapped. In other instances, Native American families' rations were threatened, despite treaties that guaranteed their rations, unless they turned over their children.

Once the children arrived at the school, they experienced a slew of other atrocities. In addition to being beaten when using their native language, the children were also:

  • sexually abused,
  • starved,
  • enslaved,
  • and even murdered

Historians are looking to uncover more details about what really happened at these "Indian" boarding schools and believe that many of the previous boarding school sites most likely contain mass graves.

The Grand Junction Indian School cemetery has yet to be found, but there are efforts in place to find and honor those that lost their lives at the boarding school.

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