For the first time in 17 years, the N.W.T.'s Sahtu Dene Council has a new grand chief.

Chiefs from throughout the region selected Wilfred McNeely Jr., from Fort Good Hope, as their leader last month.

McNeely Jr., who is the chief of Fort Good Hope, takes over from Tulita's Frank Andrew, who served as the region's grand chief for the past 17 years. 

According to Wilbert Kochon, the chief of Colville Lake who will serve as vice grand chief, the transition was a smooth process.

"We asked the previous grand chief if he wanted to step down, and he said: 'sure,' that he'd been there for quite a while, too long," said Kochon.

"He said: 'let the younger ones take over.' He said that."  

McNeely Jr. officially took over the position of grand chief for the region on January 1.