In Memory of Jack Lovell


In Memory of Jack Lovell (June 11, 1958 ~ February 22, 2019)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John (Jack) Lovell. Along with being a loving husband, father, son, brother, and uncle, Jack was also a PhD Candidate at the University of Manitoba, working with Stef McLachlan and Wa Ni Ska Tan. Jack was very active with Wa Ni Ska Tan from the very beginning and many Alliance members will remember friendly and insightful conversations with him at our annual Gatherings.

Before coming to work with Stef at the University of Manitoba, Jack studied sociology and obtained a Master’s Degree in Rural Development at Brandon University. He also served 11 years as an economic development officer in the Rural Municipality of Louise in southwestern Manitoba. Jack’s most recent PhD research at the University of Manitoba took a multi-disciplinary approach to building a localized economy focused on an ‘alternative’ but pragmatic and culturally appropriate approach to Indigenous development. Jack worked closely with a number of community partners in this work, including Pickerel Narrows First Nation and Grand Rapids.

Jack’s research focus with Pickerel Narrows First Nation (PNFN) was on the preservation and enhancement of Indigenous spiritual and cultural identity and was intended to help retain and preserve the uniqueness of the PNFN community despite the many long years since their unexpected displacement. He played an instrumental role in facilitating the construction of an Elders’ Lodge on the Thunder Ground campsite on the shore of Granville Lake.    

More recently Jack was working in Grand Rapids with community Elder, Gerald McKay. The focus of his research was to reveal the economic prospects for the present and future of the Misipawistik Cree Nation and Grand Rapids communities by documenting the impacts of the dam on the local economy and identifying viable ways of fostering sustainable indigenous economic development in the region.

Jack is greatly missed and will be remembered fondly. Donations in memory of Jack may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba: 6 Donald St. Winnipeg, MB R3L 0K6.


Jack’s full obituary can be found here.


Below you will find remembrances from the Wa Ni Ska Tan Steering Committee.


“I’m deeply saddened to hear the news about our dear friend and colleague. I’m sending prayer to the creator for Jack’s family and friends, it’s a time of sorrow and reflection as we all have great memories of Jack and all his personal interactions with the Alliance. Once again from everyone at the Hydro Alliance to Jack Lovell’s family our deepest condolences and prayers are with you in your time of need. Jack will always remembered as a good hearted man who was always helping others. Ekosi, God bless.”


“This is very sad and shocking news. Jack was a warm, kind and curious person. From an academic perspective, he was on his way to producing a unique and insightful thesis. My condolences to his family and to those of you here that were close to him.”


“This is truly tragic. I remember many great conversations with Jack, his ability to make connections and find ways of being helpful. We’ve lost a man with a great, kind and generous soul.”


“Shocking to hear, he just came by the Swan Lake office recently and we were planning to sit down to discuss his ideas. My condolences to his family.”


“I only met Jack in spring of last year, but had an immediate connection and had several email exchanges since on personal and academic topics related to his work. My impression of Jack is one of an incredibly sincere, insightful, and kind human being who was courageously wading into some very important work – I would have loved to have gotten to know him better. Much love to the Lovell family.”


“Jack was a uniquely kind and warm person, who took each and every opportunity to mentor and support people whether in his own rural community, at the university, or in the North. I miss him deeply  and the many thought-provoking conversations and friendship we developed the years.”


“I share your sense of loss and shock at this news.  I had some great visits with Jack at our Wa Ni Ska Tan events, and I was really impressed by his commitment to our work.  I know he will be greatly missed in the communities.”

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