Setsune to all: Elder Jane Dragon, 83, named recipient of Order of the NWT Award

(Mariah Caruso/CKLB)

“I had a wonderful life. If I had to live my life all over again, I’d do the same thing.”

Eighty-three year old, Elder Jane Dragon is one of three recipients being recognized for their outstanding contributions to community with an Order of the NWT Award.

“I feel I’m very honored,” she says.

Dragon has dedicated most of her personal and professional life to advocating for youth. Most recently, she’s served 11 years as an Elder and cultural facilitator with the FOXY organization, which stands for Fostering eXpression among Youth.

FOXY gives youth a safe space to talk about things like relationships, sex, and sexual health by infusing traditional methods like beading and storytelling into the mix.

“I hang out with the kids, we talk, they sew.”

Even after hours, Dragon says youth still reach out to her. They call her Setsune, which means grandmother in Chipewyan (Dënesųłinë́).

To be a grandmother she says, you must help people.

Jane Dragon, 83, named recipient of the 2022 Order of the NWT award. (Photo courtesy of Kayley Inuksuk Mackay)

Over the years, she says, she’s noticed “a lot of (youth) that are not parented. They do the parenting themselves to the parents or their siblings.”

Dragon says youth need more programs focused on culture, to ensure their overall well-being.

“A big thing that my mom and dad did was instill in us the enjoyment of the land and being able to learn how to harvest from the land, but also how to really appreciate that type of relationship,” says Joe Dragon, Jane’s son.

He says he’s proud to honor his mother’s legacy of volunteerism and cultural revitalization. We pass that on to our kids. And hopefully, the tradition continues.”

Dragon, among Richard Van Camp and Suzette Montreuil, will be inducted as the 2022 recipients of the Order of the NWT.



About the Author

Mariah Caruso
Mariah Caruso is a digital journalist, originally from Toronto, Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Hons. Bachelor of Arts and completed her Journalism post-grad at Sheridan College. She has an insatiable appetite for life, storytelling, connecting to the people, and getting to the heart of the issue. On her spare time, you can find her at your local coffee shop writing songs, poetry and prose or at the gym out-lifting men. If you have a story idea, feel free to send her an email at or call 867-766-2552 Ext 108