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2021-2022 Lecture

“Forgetting to Remember: Grand Junction's Indian Boarding School (1886-2022)”
John Seebach, PhD, Assistant Professor of Archaeology, Colorado Mesa University

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
7:00pm (doors open 6:30pm)
Colorado Mesa University, Meyer Ballroom in the University Center

Free and open to the public. Please join us for a stimulating talk and discussion.

John Seebach and photo from the Teller Institute

Lecture Summary

The federal Indian residential boarding school system was designed to assimilate Native American children into dominant Euro-American society. Two such boarding schools were established in Colorado during the late 19th century: Fort Lewis in Hesperus and the Grand Junction Indian School (Teller Institute). Each played important roles in federal education efforts, but the histories of these campuses diverge sharply after their closure in the early 1900s. Fort Lewis’s history as a boarding school is well-known on the present-day campus in Durango, while the Grand Junction school is all but forgotten among the residents of western Colorado. This includes Grand Junction’s “lost” cemetery of indigenous children who died while attending school. Why was Grand Junction forgotten after its closure? Even more importantly, why is the dwindling collective memory of the Grand Junction campus in even more jeopardy today? Archival and historic documents give us a clue and show us the influence small decisions can have on cultural memory over the long term. Read more about John Seebach →

Sponsored by:

CMU Social and Behavioral Sciences

CMU Civic Forum

Colorado Mesa University Foundation; The Michrina Fund