The community of Délı̨nę lost George Cleary on Thursday, a beloved and outstanding leader.
The Cleary family says he passed away “peacefully” in a Facebook post.
He fulfilled many roles in his lifetime, as an educator, chief, and mayor, says Bernice Lavoie, Clearys sister-in-law in a Facebook post.
“The Sahtu has lost a great man,” she adds.
George Cleary will be remembered for being a humble leader who knew how to listen, says Raymond Taniton, former Sahtu chief and Cleary’s cousin.
“He had the vision to move forward,” Taniton explains.
Cleary played a crucial role in developing the Sahtu Land Claims in the 1990s and self-governance negotiations for Délı̨nę in the 1970s.
The Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government is organizing a chartered plane from Yellowknife to the community to transport family and friends to the funeral.
Jane Arychuck will be collecting donations for the family’s travel expenses.
The funeral will take place on Monday at 2 p.m. at St. Theresa Church.