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Renowned storyteller will present at English Camp

Join renowned Washington state storyteller Karen Haas for an hour of first-person history with “Sisters in Times,” a collection of vignettes about 19th century frontier women, scheduled 2 p.m., Aug. 23 at English Camp.   - Contributed photo
Join renowned Washington state storyteller Karen Haas for an hour of first-person history with “Sisters in Times,” a collection of vignettes about 19th century frontier women, scheduled 2 p.m., Aug. 23 at English Camp.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Join renowned Washington state storyteller Karen Haas for an hour of first-person history with “Sisters in Times,” a collection of vignettes about 19th century frontier women, scheduled 2 p.m., Aug. 23 at English Camp.

The free program, which is part of the park’s Weaving Weekend at English Camp, meets at the English Camp visitor center. Call the visitor center at 378-4409 or 378-2902 for special access information.

Haas enjoys telling in "modern times" and bringing the past to life with living history presentations through the Washington state Humanities Commission’s Inquiring Mind series. She is well known for her effervescent style, which engages emotions, from the sublime to the ridiculous, in audiences both young and old. She has presented at such

"usual" places as libraries, bookstores, schools, senior centers, and churches; as well as "exotic" sites such as 1850s fur trade and Pig War re-enactments, a medieval wedding reception, and ghostly bonfires.

“Sisters in Time” presents the clothing, songs and ideas of women from 150 years ago. Only by understanding where we have been can we truly understand where we are today and how to move forward in time. This program is appropriate for all ages, but is best suited for intermediate through adult audiences.

“The summer of 1855 was a time of change in the Puget Sound (area) as more and more people of diverse ethnic groups settled the land,” Haas said. “I bring those times to life with ‘Sisters in Time.’ Dressed in the clothing of the era, I portray four very different women of that summer as I sing their songs and tell their tales. These, their humanities, shed light on our own times."

Haas begins the program as herself, wearing a mid-1800s work dress. The work dress is the “theme” that all the women have in common, but they each add their own “variation.”

“For example I sing ‘Allouette”’as I don trade beads and an Assumption sash, becoming Katherine, a Métis (of both French-Canadian and Native ancestry) and wife of a fur trapper,” Haas said. “Proud of her heritage, Katherine brings her tale – which is also the tale of the fur trade – across the continent to the first permanent Euro-American settlement on the Puget Sound, the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Nisqually.”

An experienced teacher and museum curator of education, Haas was the recipient of the Association of King County Historical Organization’s 2005 Heritage Education Award. She is active in re-enactments at Northwest historic sites such as Nisqually, Fort and San Juan Island National Historic Park. Her living history presentations have been featured at Fort Clatsop and Whitman Mission National Historic Site. She feels especially rewarded telling the tales of those whose voices are usually silent in history – the women.

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