Jane Dragon is a vibrant human encyclopedia about furs in the Northwest Territories. Trapping has been in her family heritage for several generations. Years ago, she made it her mission to collect a pelt from every animal in the Northwest Territories and, with the support of her husband Dave, she has accomplished that remarkable feat.
In addition to her valuable pelt collection, Jane has fascinating handmade artifacts made from Northern animals, such as toys and tools. She has beautifully beaded items too, some carefully passed on from her relatives. She is probably the only living person in Canada to have such an incredible personal collection of Northern animal pelts and artifacts.
Jane has contributed countless volunteer hours of educational presentations to students of all ages and at community events. In 2011, she was invited to the Diavik Mine to show employees her collection of pelts and artifacts. In typical fashion, Jane shared interesting trapping stories and information while kindly allowing the employees to handle the pelts and delicate items to best appreciate their value. She was given a couple of DVDs of her demonstration, and to date, this is the only bit of video record she has of her collection and informative skills.
Jane’s items are priceless and her wisdom and experiences about them are fascinating and invaluable! At 75 years old, Jane has no knowledge of computers and the modern technology that would allow her to make short vignettes where she could show and tell all about each animal. What a fabulous opportunity for Fort Smith to join together and create such a situation. There needs to be some sort of a museum area where her dedicated work can not only be preserved, but enjoyed by everyone. It could be a very desirable tourist attraction. Surely, there are people in the Territories who have the professional and/or technical skills necessary to successfully promote her collection and knowledge.
Given the ever growing awareness of the value of Aboriginal heritage, I hope all who have ideas about how to support such a valuable project will set up a meeting with Jane Dragon as soon as possible and start the ball rolling.