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History of Portage Indian Residential School

1880’s | Formation of the first Methodist/Presbyterian Church run school

1890 | A small frame school on four small lots and student moved into residential school  Long Plain students taken against their will to attend the residential school

1910 | 56 acres of land purchased by Dept of Indian Affairs to build a residential school

1915 | New residential school opens in with 70 students and 7 staff members.

1918 | Portage Indian Residential School students survive the Spanish Flu, but a lot died from tuberculosis.

1921 | Legislation passed – compulsory school attendance.  IRS expand to lodge 150 Students

1949 | Children not allowed to converse with brothers and sisters, or speak at meal time, mail censored, doors kept locked, pulling of hairs and strapped frequently

1950 | Truancy – students not attending school

1952 | Major work begins at school

1957 | Dept. of Indian Affairs and United Church reorganize Brandon & Portage Residential schools

1964 | Only older students – 20% run away

1965 | More major renovations, Jack Harris (JO) now is the principal

1966 | Glee club and sports teams formed

1969 | Indian Affairs takes over management of Portage Residential School

1970 | Attendance drops by 60%

1972 | Tragic plane crash with 8 students on Board including the pilot. The students who were on their way home for the summer holidays. All perished in the plane crash in Winnipeg.

1975 | 39 students left at Residential School – 20 students placed in private homes and Residential school is closed

1975 | The Residential School is closed and stands unused and empty

1981 | 45 acres of land and the building become part Long Plain 6B

1984-2000 | the building housed the Yellow quill College and DOTC offices.

2000 | The building is renamed the Rufus Prince Building in honor of a former student, former Chief of Long Plain First Nation, a Treaty Rights Advocate and World War 11 veteran

2001 | Long Plain seeks to establish the National Residential School Museum

2005 | Receives Provincial Heritage Status

2018 – 2019 | Full- time Director and Assistant unpack the artifacts and open up office and set up museum in 2 small rooms with displays.  Tours of building and survivors share their stories with groups.

2019 – October 18 | Received a National Trust for Canada Governors’ Award for the inspiring ongoing efforts to achieve the vision of a National Indigenous Residential School Museum of Canada –

2020 – September 1 | the former Portage La Prairie Indian Residential School is officially designated as a National Historic Site.
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