I worked in the school program at Haney Heritage Village for the first time this month and acted in character with the other staff.  Leading up to the day I was a little hesitant but I had done my homework. After I was fitted for a costume, learned how to teach school kids to gold pan, learned the Haney House history, and wrote a biography for my character, I started to get excited.

I had never been on a school tour at Haney Village, so everything was new to me. I learned that the kids were going to be guided through the buildings and taught how to play old fashioned games.

The character I chose to be was special. I played the role of my Great Great Grandmother, Christine Allen. She was Mary Thomas’ mother. Christine was born in 1886 on Neskonlith # 3 Indian Band near Chase B.C. She was born before the settlers came into Secwepemc Territory; she knew a lot about our culture and learned how to survive using the traditional ways, before the life of our people changed.

As part of my job in the archives, I researched my character and felt I knew a lot about her. I learned that Christine Allen’s father was blind and so she had to learn to be responsible at a very young age. She learned to trap animals for food and their use of fur coats to keep warm. She was away from her family for long periods of time, living in Kekulis, or winter houses, along the trap line. Christine also knew how to live off the land picking berries, smoking salmon, digging up roots, trapping, skinning and tanning.

My Great Great Grandma married Dan Allen in 1895 and she lived to be 102!