Games legacy

Jane Charlie

Jane Charlie Sr. has
12 family members 
participating in
the AWG
in Whitehorse.

When the Arctic Winter Games kick off this week, Jane Charlie Sr. will have 12 reasons to be proud.

That's because the Fort McPherson elder has one son, four daughters, three granddaughters, three grandsons and one great granddaughter participating in the games.

"That's the way we raised them," said 81-year-old Charlie. "I'm proud, of course."

Although her husband, former chief Johnny D. Charlie, died years ago, she said it's his legacy that is being carried on through her children.

"We both never went to school that much. I think we went to school about two or three years, so because of that we told them to go to school and try really hard and we made sure they all graduated," she said.

Altogether the couple had 12 children, including three they adopted, and all of them completed high school.

"My husband was the one that really talked to them," she said. "I wish he was here to see it. He would be more proud than me."

Charlie and her husband both grew up on the land and, in addition to not having access to education, they also didn't have access to organized sports. For that reason, they really pushed their children to get active in the community.

"I always tell them, 'You play games, not to win. You will win if you're going to win. Sometimes you lose, that doesn't matter. It shouldn't hurt you if you lose,'" she said, adding, "They win lots of times."

Although Charlie was never involved with sports, her daughter Liz Wright said Charlie always participated in the Northern Games when they included activities such as tea boiling, bannock making and duck plucking.

Now, with rheumatoid arthritis, the elder will be watching the competitions from her home.

"Sometimes when I see them, it just makes me emotional. I'm so happy, it just about makes me cry sometimes," she said.

Charlie said she isn't surprised Fort McPherson has such a strong showing at the Arctic Winter Games this year – like in so many years passed – because parents in the community encourage their children to take part.

"There are lots of opportunities in McPherson," she said.

Jane Charlie Sr.'s family at the Arctic Winter Games

Daughter Liz Wright – Snowshoeing (coaching)

Daughter Lorna Storr – Dene Games (coaching)

Daughter Joanne Tetlichi – Dene Games (coaching)

Son Andrew Charlie – Dog mushing (coaching)

Daughter-in-law Shauna Charlie – Dog mushing (coaching)

Granddaughter Stephanie Charlie – Hockey (competing)

Granddaughter Courtney Charlie - Dene Games (competing)

Grandson AJ Charlie – Dog mushing (competing)

Grandson Wills Storr – Dene Games (competing)

Grandson Johnny D Charlie – Snowshoeing (competing)

Granddaughter Jay Wright – Snowshoe biathlon (competing)

Great-granddaughter Davina McLeod – Hockey (competing)