Nfld. & Labrador

Jim Lyall, Nunatsiavut's first elected president, has died

Lyall was the president of Nunatsiavut from 2008 to 2012, and served as the ordinary member for Nain from 2017 until his death.

Lyall was no stranger to politics in Labrador

Jim Lyall, pictured here in 2019, served as president of the Nunatsiavut government from 2008 to 2012. He died in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Friday morning. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Jim Lyall, the Nunatsiavut government's first elected president, has died.

Born in the village of Nutak in 1945, Lyall was no stranger to politics in Labrador. He was president of Nunatsiavut from 2008 to 2012, and served as the ordinary member for Nain from 2017 until his death.

Lyall moved to Nain after his family was forced to resettle by the provincial government and attended residential school in North West River.

Lyall served two stints as executive director for the Labrador Inuit Association, from 1977 to 1981 and from 2002 until the formation of the Nunatsiavut government in 2005. Lyall died just hours after his wife, Jean, at the Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Friday morning.

In a statement, Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe said Lyall will be greatly missed, remembering him as a devoted husband, father and friend.

"Today we lost a great leader, a man who has contributed tremendously over the years in advancing rights, issues and concerns of all Labrador Inuit," Lampe said. "His determination, strong will, and desire to invoke positive change for the benefit of Nunatsiavut, and his adopted community of Nain, will certainly not go unnoticed."

Flags in Happy Valley-Goose Bay will fly at half-mast to honour Lyall's dedication to the Inuit of Labrador.

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