Five Native American boarding schools designed to strip indigenous children of their culture, heritage and language operated in Colorado for decades, part of a centuries-long federal effort to subjugate the tribes and people that lived on this land for thousands of years.
The list of Colorado schools, which spanned the Ute Mountain Ute reservation in the southwest corner of the state all the way to Denver, is part of a first-ever federal inventory and investigation from the U.S. Department of the Interior to identify federally-run boarding schools from the Florida Everglades to the Alaskan tundra.
The report’s 106-page first volume, released Wednesday, was commissioned last year by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native cabinet member in U.S. history. It says the investigation found evidence of more than 500 deaths of Native children.
The findings, which list the locations and years of operation of 408 of these boarding schools across 37 states and territories, mark a somber acknowledgment of the cultural genocide authorized and encouraged by Haaland’s predecessors at the Department of the Interior, and across all three branches of government, for generations.
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