The history of the former Portage Indian Residential School dates back to the 1880’s originally formed by the first Methodist/Presbyterian Church. The building serves as a reminder of the churches and government ‘s involvement in forcefully removing Indigenous children from their families and communities. It was an attempt to assimilate Indigenous children “to kill the Indian in the child”, convert them to Christianity, and remove them from the communities.
Why do we have museums, specifically one that is housed in the former Portage la Prairie Indian Residential School? Museums play an integral role in preserving history, specifically our culture, our stories, our languages through exhibits, artifacts, pictures and displays. The legacy of the Residential School era must be told through the displays, pictures, artifacts and stories. It is looking back where we came from, the present and where we are going. It is preserving knowledge, wisdom and experiences of the past. It is moving ahead in our healing journeys from the traumas we endured. It is also a place to showcase our culture, our unique dance regalia, even the small arrowhead speak volumes of how we survived on the land. It is a place where history and culture meet for all nations. Museums serve a purpose in our communities.