Manitoba

Bunibonibee Cree Nation's Sarah Harper turns 111

A Manitoba Cree elder celebrated her 111th birthday on Thursday.

'She's very, very much sharp and she loves people and to be with people': Sheila North Wilson

Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson at the birthday party of Sarah Harper (right) who celebrated 111th birthday in Bunibonibee Cree Nation on Aug. 25, 2017. (Doug Thomas)

A Manitoba Cree elder celebrated her 111th birthday on Thursday.

Sarah Harper marked the occasion with friends and family in Bunibonibee Cree Nation, a.k.a Oxford House, about 570 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, where she has spent most of her life.

Bunibonibee Cree Nation elder Sarah Harper celebrates her 111th birthday in her home community Aug. 24, 2017. (Doug Thomas)

'She's jovial, she's happy, she likes to joke and she likes to ask you, 'Oh how's so-and-so doing. She just asked me about my parents," said Sheila North Wilson. The Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak flew into Bunibonibee to celebrate with Harper Thursday afternoon.

"She's very, very much sharp and she loves people and to be with people."

Harper had six children of her own, North Wilson said, and is now a grandmother and great-grandmother. North Wilson said she might be the oldest Indigenous person in Canada.

North Wilson said she doesn't know Harper's secret to longevity.

"She chews snuff everyday and has potato chips, I don't know if that has anything to do with anything," she said.

Harper is still in good health, North Wilson added.

"She uses a wheelchair most of the time, but she's able to walk. She's able to communicate, she can see well. Her hearing is a little not that great, so people have to talk really loud to her ears," North Wilson said.

"But other than that she looks pretty good. I think she's going to make it for a few more years."

With files from Ismaila Alfa

now