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Teller Indian School’s Buried Past May Soon Be Located And Honored

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Photo: Teller Indian School
Teller Indian School.

In 1886, the federal government opened the "Teller Indian School" for American Indian children on the outskirts of Grand Junction. Kids from a dozen Indian nations were sent to the school where they were stripped of their native customs, language...even their given names. And at least 23 died and were buried in a long-lost campus cemetery. Colorado Mesa University Assistant Professor John Seebach, an archeologist, tells Colorado Matters he wants to locate that cemetery and preserve it.

But he's in a race against time. What was once the Teller Indian School was turned into a home for people with disabilities early in the last century. It became the Grand Junction Regional Center, a facility owned by the State of Colorado. The regional center is in the process of being phased out. Residents are being placed in group homes. The plan is to sell the property. So, Seebach needs to locate that cemetery before the sale in order to have that portion of it removed from the sale and preserved.