Deputy Grand Chief Kristine McLeod has passed away suddenly, the Gwich’in Tribal Council said on Sunday evening.
In a news release on Monday, RCMP said a fatal accident involving a lone vehicle had taken place at around 7:15am on Sunday on the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, some 20 km north of Inuvik. Police confirmed a 38-year-old woman had been found dead.
A 25-year-old man, who was not identified, was medevaced to Yellowknife for treatment.
The Gwich’in Tribal Council announced McLeod’s passing in a short statement on Facebook, confirming the news with “profound sadness and heavy hearts.”
“At this moment, the thoughts, prayers, and attention of our organization and Nation are with the McLeod and Semmler families,” the statement continued.
McLeod had served as deputy grand chief for almost a year after being elected to the role in September 2020.
“The board, executive, and staff of the GTC mourn the immeasurable loss of our friend, relative, mother, and leader,” the council’s statement concluded.
On Twitter, NWT Premier Caroline Cochrane wrote: “Kristine McLeod spent her life working for the Gwich’in people. She wanted a better future for the Gwich’in and was dedicated to achieving this.
“My heart is with her family and friends during this tragic time.”
Meaghan Brackenbury contributed reporting.