‹‹ Colorado Matters

Living through the Indigenous relocation from reservations to cities

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12min 15sec
Avery Lill
Doris Goodteacher outside a library in Denver on Nov. 14, 2019. Goodteacher’s family relocated from a reservation to Denver in the 1950s as part of a Bureau of Indian Affairs program.

Something happened in 1952 that still reverberates across the U.S. today. The Bureau of Indian Affairs initiated a program to move Native Americans off reservations and into cities. It’s part of the reason citizens of more than 200 tribal nations now call Denver home. Indigenous people on reservations were promised good jobs in cities but the BIA had ulterior motives: to assimilate Native Americans.

Doris Goodteacher moved to Denver from the Santee Sioux Nation in 1956 as a part of the BIA's voluntary relocation program. She spoke with Avery Lill in 2019 about her experience.

On Monday, Oct. 11, CPR News and Colorado Matters present a special from American Public Media, "Uprooted: The 1950s Plan to Erase Indian Country" at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.