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Jim Sark, former chief of Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nations, dies at 84

Jim Sark is shown in an undated photo submitted by the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils. The former chief is being remembered as 'a visionary leader whose dedication to advancing the interests of our people was boundless.' (Denis Duquette/Epekwitk Assembly of Councils - image credit)
Jim Sark is shown in an undated photo submitted by the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils. The former chief is being remembered as 'a visionary leader whose dedication to advancing the interests of our people was boundless.' (Denis Duquette/Epekwitk Assembly of Councils - image credit)

Former Chief of Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nations George James (Jim) Sark died Wednesday morning, according to the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils. He was 84.

In a written news release, Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard called his death "a profound loss" for the community.

"He was a visionary leader whose dedication to advancing the interests of our people was boundless," Bernard said. "His contributions to the development of Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nations are immeasurable, and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations."

Sark was born on Feb. 17, 1940, at Lennox Island. His daughter Jenene Wooldridge is the executive director of L'nuey, which works to defend and increase public understanding of Indigenous communities' rights.

Sark's legacy includes pioneering the distribution of electricity in Lennox Island and overseeing the construction of community halls, gyms, and housing, the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils said in the release.

"Jim Sark's impact extends beyond the borders of our communities," Bernard said.

Every time we lose an elder, we lose countless stories, traditional knowledge and history. — Abegweit Chief Junior Gould

"He leaves behind a legacy of resilience, innovation, and determination that will continue to guide us in our pursuit of a better future.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and all those who were fortunate enough to know him."

Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould said in the release that Sark was the oldest living Epekwitnewaq Mi'kmaq.

"Every time we lose an elder, we lose countless stories, traditional knowledge and history," Gould said.

"As chief of the Abegweit First Nation, I am grateful for the many years of service Jim provided to his community.  As our community, and the P.E.I. Mi'kmaq community as whole, continues to grow and regain our role as stewards of this special island, Jim will be remembered as a significant part of the history… that got us to this point."