About the Reports

This final reports present the comprehensive findings of the Truth, Restoration, and Education Commission (TREC) of Colorado, which, over the last two years, in collaboration with the People of the Sacred Land (PSL), has diligently examined the widely untold history of Colorado in order to uncover the causes of widespread land displacement and the genocide of Native peoples in the state. The TREC’s primary focus is on restoring the status of Tribal Nations in modern-day Colorado, and establishing an environment where Native communities in the state can grow and succeed. In the wake of irreparable harms, this work is dedicated to the restoration of Indigeneity, relationality, and wellness for the next seven generations.

The TREC report provides a comprehensive examination of the extensive damage endured by Native peoples due to forced relocation, illegal seizure of land, violations of human rights, acts of violence, warfare, deceptive practices, and other illicit actions perpetrated by the state of Colorado, its citizens, and the US government and federal agents over the past 170 years. The TREC report outlines the processes by which the extermination transpired and pinpoints the entities accountable for implementing harmful policies, agreements, and laws that had detrimental effects on American Indian populations.

The Legal and Political History of Colorado Tribes

Introduction; Legal and political history of the Apache of Oklahoma, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Comanche, Kiowa, Northern Arapaho, Northern Cheyenne, Shoshone, Ute Tribe of Utah, Southern Ute, and Ute Mountain Ute. 

Key Finding: The TREC identified these 10 Tribal Nations as having aboriginal title, congressional title, and treaty title to lands within Colorado. Each report explores land cessions – legal, illegal, and coerced – and the underlying circumstances that precipitated such events.

Full Report

Historic Loss Assessment

Historic Economic Loss Assessment (HELA) focuses on the quantitative impacts of Euro-American expansion into Colorado (particularly upon the above tribes) including how this theft became the original source of capital that built Colorado.

Key Findings:

  • Value of Dispossessed Lands: Approximately $1.17 trillion (market value in 2021).
  • Mineral Extraction: Over $546.6 billion (in 2018 dollars) since 1858.
  • Agricultural and Water Rights Losses: Not explicitly quantified but significant. Requires further inquiry.
  • Loss of life is approximated at 710.
  • Subsequent pain and suffering experienced by survivors and descendants from significant traumatic events are difficult to quantify and requires further inquiry.
History of Indian Education in Colorado

A comprehensive overview of the history, evolution and current state of Indian Education in Colorado from K-12 to higher education. 

Key Findings: 

  • The majority of Colorado residents have attended or are currently enrolled in schools that either completely ignore or only briefly touch upon the history of Colorado’s original inhabitants, often presenting inaccurate or inadequate information which is detrimental to all students. 
  • Fort Lewis has continuously made efforts to evade its contractual obligation to provide tuition-free education to Native American students.
  • Colorado State University (CSU) retains possession of 19,000 acres from the initial land grant. However, there is no public disclosure regarding the annual revenue generated from these parcels.
  • Institutions of higher learning along the front range, such as CSU, University of Colorado, University of Denver, and Metropolitan State University, have considerably long histories of neglecting to acknowledge the inherent injustices of their founding (specifically, the appropriation of Native lands) and could do more to support Native students and the Native community at large.


Every section of the full report includes specific recommendations for the State of Colorado, US Government, and/or individual institutions; however, the following is a list of prioritized recommendations that focus on restoration, reparations, and reconciliation for the State of Colorado:


  • We recommend that CSU return the remaining 19,000 acres of land of the original land grant to those Tribal Nations that it was illegally taken from.

  • We recommend that the State of Colorado and its Department of Natural Resources honor the treaties of Tribal Nations by restoring the Tribes’ hunting and fishing rights within the boundaries of the State of Colorado.

  • We recommend that the state of Colorado resolve to compensate the Northern Cheyenne and Northern Arapaho for the illegal occupation without a legal title for Denver and the surrounding cities.
  • We recommend that Colorado pass a law mandating a fee of .01% on all upcoming real estate deals in the state. This fee would not be a tax because it would be aimed at rectifying past unlawful land transactions in Colorado. The income from these fees should be used to mitigate the lasting effects of forced displacement, genocide, and other historical injustices that Native communities have endured.

  • We recommend that the state of Colorado resolve to conduct a full public audit of the Public-School Fund and the Colorado State Land Board. 
  • We recommend that the state of Colorado and the City of Denver collaborate on constructing an American Indian Cultural History Center. This center will house offices for any Tribal Nation that ceded land in Colorado and function as a hub of information regarding American Indians in the state.

Press Contact