Big Family, Big Party for 106-Year-Old

Article excerpt

Birthday bash delights Oxford House woman

At 106 years old, Sarah Harper is reluctant to share her secret for longevity.

"No, I'm not going to tell!" the centenarian from Oxford House joked in Cree as her granddaughter translated. Family and friends around her burst into laughter.

Harper was honoured with a birthday celebration at St. Theresa Point Friday. More than 60 family and friends came from the community and across the province to honour their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

"She was always active. She was always running and lived on wild food all her life. She worked all the time," said her granddaughter, Joan Grieves, from Oxford House.

Harper became wheelchair-bound just this spring and is still active and mentally sharp, Grieves said.

"She's very outgoing. She laughs a lot. She tells a lot of jokes," Grieves said.

It's debatable when Harper was born. Some records say 1901, others say 1904 or 1906. Her family has settled on Aug. 24, 1906, as the right date.

"She never was sick when she was young," Grieves said. "Maybe that's why she's so strong."

Among her accomplishments, her family said she witnessed the signing of Treaty 5 in 1909, although she would have been just three at the time. …