The Native American Tuition Waiver at Fort Lewis College dates back 100 years to an offer made by the federal government to the state of Colorado. The Old Fort Lewis property in Hesperus, CO, was home to a military post and Indian boarding school, both operated by the federal government, until 1910 when the land was offered to Colorado. If Colorado chose to accept the land, the state would need to follow two conditions.
The two conditions, as stated in the 1910 offer ( 36 Stat. 273, chapter 140, p. 274), are (1) “…That said lands and buildings shall be held and maintained by the State of Colorado as an institution of learning…” and (2) “…that Indian pupils shall at all times be admitted to such school free of charge for tuition and on terms of equality with white pupils…”
In short, Colorado received ownership of the land and buildings in exchange for its promise to keep it as an “institution of learning” and to admit Native American students without charge for tuition.