1840

Rev. James Evans, of the Methodist Church, establishes Rossville Mission at Norway House, Manitoba, and soon opens a day school for the Cree children there.

1875

The Cree and Salteaux nations living around Lake Winnipeg negotiate Treaty 5 with the federal government, which establishes reserves at Norway House and other locations.

1898

The Methodist Church asks the government for funds to build a boarding school at Rossville. The Department of Indian Affairs funds the school’s construction and approves a $75 per capita to a maximum of 50 students.

1899

The residence opens in the fall with 56 boarders and a staff of three.

Vocational training consists of cutting wood, fetching water from the lake, tending the garden, cooking, baking, sewing, washing, and ironing.

Boarders attend the day school along with 50 to 60 day students.

The school’s first principal, E.F. Hardiman, finds it difficult to enforce attendance.

1902

The school suffers simultaneous epidemics of whooping cough, bronchitis, and pneumonia, with some chicken pox as well. Three children die.

1903

A schoolroom for senior students is built for the residence; junior students continue to attend the day school.

Staff at the residence numbers six.

During the 1906/1907 school year, nine children die from tuberculosis.

1906

Student Charles Clyne runs away after being severely punished; his feet freeze and he is permanently disabled. The supervisor who had beaten him leaves the school and church employment.

1910

The residence building is in poor repair and the threat of fire from the wood-burning stoves is great; school officials decide to rebuild.

The Norway House band surrenders 40 acres of their reserve as a site for the new residence.

Principal Lousley complains of truancy.

1911

On April 1, the DIA and the Methodist Church sign an agreement governing management of the boarding school.

1913

On February 26, the school burns down. The students, who number approximately 50, continue to receive classes. They are billeted in local homes, the hospital and the HBC store.

1915

The DIA rebuilds the boarding school on the 40 acres allocated by the band, a short distance from the old school site. The new building, designed to accommodate 80 boarders, opens October 15.

Ninety-two students enrol the first year.

The school is ill prepared for so many students. Food and clothing are short, and children shows signs of malnourishment.

Principal Lousley has a boy tied up to prevent him running away, prompting an investigation by the DIA.

1916

The school is overcrowded; children are sleeping two to a bed.

The community of Berens River refuses to send their children back after they arrive home with signs of frostbite and complaining that they had been fed rotten fish.

The school has five head of cattle and one team of horses.

Principal Lousley is dismissed.

1917

The new principal, George Denyes, begins to expand the school’s half-acre garden plot.

1918

A number of children orphaned by the Spanish flu epidemic are taken into the school.

1919

Denyes reports that the boys have cleared 30 of the school’s 40 acres and have brought several acres under cultivation. They also have 24 head of cattle, 24 hogs, and two teams of horses.

1922

The boundaries of the school property are altered to accommodate a roadway.

Enrolment reaches 100.

1923

Enrolment is 105.

By federal order-in-council, 571.2 acres of Crown land on Hope Island are turned over to
the school for its use.

The Indian Agent reports that the schoolchildren are spending too much time “building fences and breaking new ground” instead of in the classroom.

1924

The exact boundaries of the lands provided to the school by the Norway House Band are defined.

1925

Management of the school transfers from the Methodist Missionary Society of Canada to the Board of Home Missions of the United Church of Canada.

The school petitions the DIA to increase enrolment to 110, but the Department refuses.

1930

The RCMP lays charges against Principal Shroup after he uses severe corporal punishment on a boy. The presiding judge dismisses the charges but warns the principal to punish with a strap.

1931

In an attempt to improve student health, Shroup begins to decrease enrolment. He also introduces outdoor exercise drills and has a slide and an outdoor rink built.

The school is put on the half-day system, with classes in the morning only.

1933

The school is hit by a whooping cough epidemic when the children return from summer holidays. The disease may have been brought from Oxford House, one of the children’s home communities.

Shroup increases the dairy herd to provide milk for the students.

Enrolment has dropped to 89.

1934

Principal Shroup asks permission from the DIA to keep students over 16 in school to help run it.

Shroup is dismissed.

1935

The school is quarantined due to an outbreak of chickenpox.

1940

There is an outbreak of typhoid fever, which may have originated in God’s Lake.

1942

Principal Caldwell introduces goats to provide milk for the school.

The Hudson’s Bay Company signs an agreement, drawn up by the school, to hire Norway House IRS graduates.

1946

On May 29, the school burns down in a fire that starts in the furnace room. With the aid of two boys, students and staff escape safely. The students are billeted in local homes until they can return to their communities.

Enrolment is 105.

1948

The DIA begins to survey for the construction of a new building.

1952

The new boarding school, with room for 120 students in residence and two dorms in separate buildings to reduce the risk of fire, reopens in September.

Farming ceases and the half-day system is abandoned.

1955

Anglican children who cannot be accommodated by Prince Albert Residential School in Saskatchewan begin to attend Norway House.

1957

Norway House IRS and the Rossville Day School amalgamate.

1964

There are 138 children in residence and another 242 who are day students.

1965

The Executive of the Manitoba Conference agrees to close the school within two years, to give them time to find alternative accommodation for residential students.

1967

On June 30, Norway House IRS closes and the building converted to a day school classroom.

The 40 acres assigned to the school revert to Norway House Reserve No. 17.

Management of the day school passes to the federal government.

1968

The Crown-owned property on Hope Island is transferred to Manitoba on August 30.

1969

In July, Manitoba takes over the school system at Norway House from the federal government.