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Update on our reconciliation efforts, House Bill 1327

 Dear Fort Lewis Community, 

Guided by the leadership of our Trustees, alumni, faculty, students, and staff, FLC has explored how our origins as a Federal Indian Boarding School shape our present identity and influence our aspirations for the future.  

 A central aspect of this work is better understanding the trauma and harm done to Native American children at the Fort Lewis Indian Boarding School (which operated from 1892-1909 in Hesperus, Colorado). To accomplish this, Fort Lewis College Leadership came together with the leaders of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe to propose Colorado House Bill 22-1327--state legislation enacted to investigate the traumas at the Federal Indian Boarding Schools in the State of Colorado.  

Progress to Date on HB 22-1327   

History Colorado completed the scope of work outlined in HB 22-1327 this summer and delivered the full final report to the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA) on June 30, 2023. Consistent with government-to-government relationships with Tribal Nations, History Colorado released the final full report to the Tribal Nations who had children in attendance at the former boarding schools they investigated. 

Tomorrow, September 1, 2023, History Colorado will provide an executive summary of the final report and recommendations. As defined by HB 22-1327, they will also make a summary of the report and recommendations publicly available on the History Colorado website. We will provide a link to the report’s summary on the FLC reconciliation webpage.  

Based upon Tribal consultation, History Colorado decided it would be appropriate to allow Tribal Nations more time with the contents of the final report before sharing it with the public later this fall. We agree.  We continue to honor tribal sovereignty and respect the space and time needed by impacted Tribal Nations to process the report. 

FLC’s commitment to healing and Reconciliation   

As our FLC community moves forward, we remain focused on reconciliation and healing. At their August meeting, our Board of Trustees solidified this commitment by unanimously passing a resolution on FLC’s commitment to reconciliation.

Our leadership team has been working with key campus departments to ensure that we provide comprehensive support to our campus community as we begin the work of healing. In the coming weeks, we will have a series of programs focused on healing for our campus community. Please look for emails from our VP of Diversity, Heather Shotton, regarding upcoming events.  

We recognize that the information provided in the summary of the report may be painful for many members of our Skyhawk family, and it is normal to have a wide range of feelings and responses. Students, please know your Counseling Center is ready and willing to support you.

Appointments are available by calling 970-247-7212, emailing counselingcenter@fortlewis.edu, or stopping by Noble 260. The Counseling Center's regular hours are Mon-Fri 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Employees can access counseling through EAP services. The Axis Health System 24/7 CareLine is available to all community members anytime at 970-247-5245. 

FLC’s Commitment to Transparency  

We remain committed to transparency in our reconciliation process. As a reminder, you can access updates and information on FLC’s reconciliation work, HB 22-1327, and resources related to federal Indian boarding schools and reconciliation on our FLC reconciliation webpage

I want to thank all the alumni, students, staff, faculty, and Indigenous community leaders who have helped us work to accurately acknowledge the past so we can look at the future with clarity of vision and purpose. This work is hard. Important work is never easy. Thank you for making our community better.  

Best, Tom  

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