North

Nunavik leaders mourn Juneau, Alaska, mayor found dead in his home

Leaders in Northern Quebec are mourning Greg Fisk, an Alaska mayor whose death earlier this week is being investigated by police. In the 1970s, Fisk was a negotiator for the Northern Quebec Inuit Association Canada — the predecessor to Nunavik's Makivik Corporation.

Greg Fisk, 70, was a negotiator on James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement

Stephen 'Greg' Fisk, the newly-elected mayor of Juneau, Alaska, was found dead in his home Monday afternoon. In the 1970s, Fisk was a negotiator for the Northern Quebec Inuit Association Canada — the predecessor of Nunavik's Makivik Corporation — and helped hammer out the 1975 James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement. (Facebook)

Leaders in Northern Quebec are mourning Stephen (Greg) Fisk, an Alaska mayor whose death earlier this week is being investigated by police.

In the 1970s, Fisk was a negotiator for the Northern Quebec Inuit Association Canada — the predecessor of Nunavik's Makivik Corporation — and helped hammer out the 1975 James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement.

At the time, Senator Charlie Watt was president of the Northern Quebec Inuit Association. He hired Fisk during a trip to Alaska to study the Alaskan Eskimo Land Claims in the early 1970s.

"I'm in shock," Watt said in a news release.

"When I met Greg more than 40 years ago I saw a person who was motivated and not a submissive person. He's definitely in the history books of the Inuit of Nunavik."

In a news release, Makivik Corporation President Jobie Tukkiapik said it's a sad day for Nunavik and Quebec, given the 40th anniversary of the signing of the agreement was celebrated Nov. 11.

"To hear one of the negotiators has died during this time is unexpected and we want his family in Alaska to know his legacy in Canada will live on," he said in the release.

Fisk participated last summer in the making of the documentary Napagunnaqullusi (So That You Can Stand) about the negotiation of the agreement.

Cause of death unclear

Police in Juneau have not determined whether Fisk, who was sworn in as mayor in October, died from a natural event or foul play but have tentatively ruled out gunshots, drugs or suicide in the death.

Fisk, 70, was found dead in his Juneau home Monday with injuries that police did not describe. Police are awaiting autopsy results to announce a possible cause of death.

"It's not clear what the cause of those injuries are," police spokeswoman Erann Kalwara said Tuesday.

Police are hoping the state medical examiner in Anchorage will complete the autopsy in a couple of days, she said.

​Fisk had scheduled appointments Monday and when he missed them, his adult son Ian went to his father's home and spotted the body.

In their official statement, police acknowledged rumours of an assault but said those rumours were "speculation."

Ian Fisk said in an email that his family is grieving privately.

"We sincerely appreciate the support of the community and we recognize that, as would be the case with any public figure, his death brings a lot of attention," Ian Fisk said.

"At this time we have no reason to speculate as to the cause of his death and are awaiting the results of his autopsy. Meanwhile I will not be responding to any further media requests of any kind, and ask for your understanding."

Fisk, a fisheries consultant, handily defeated incumbent Merrill Sanford in the Oct. 6 election to become mayor and was sworn in Oct. 20.

with files from Associated Press