April 22, 2013
Ottawa (ON) – Today, National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo offered the following statement on the passing of Chief Margaret Pictou Labillois:
“On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations and the national executive, I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Chief Margaret Pictou Labillois and the people of Eel River Bar First Nation (NB). We have lost a respected Elder, leader and a magnificent First Nations Mi’gmaq woman who will be remembered for her tremendous dedication, kindness and generosity towards her people.
Chief Pictou Labillois, a loving wife and mother of 14 children, will be missed by many and remembered dearly for her tireless efforts. We offer our thoughts and prayers to her loved ones.”
A proud member of the Mi’gmaq Nation and a long-time supporter of her community, Chief Pictou Labillois will be remembered as a strong voice and advocate for her nation. Her contributions, conviction and compassion will be missed. She dedicated a good portion of her life to helping promote and protect the Mi’kmaq language and culture.
She was the first of her community to graduate high school in 1939. Five years later, she served in the Royal Canadian Airforce (RCAF) as a photo-reconnaissance technician. Beginning in 1970, she served two terms as Chief of Eel River Bar First Nation, the first female Chief in the New Brunswick region.
She received the Order of Canada in 1998 in recognition of her leadership qualities and significant demonstration of traditional skills. In recognition of her leadership and protection of the Mi’kmaq language, she was awarded the Order of New Brunswick in October 2005.
Regional Chief Roger Augustine, New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island, added: “In today’s world, Margaret Labillois was a true spiritual leader. The integrity, honesty and wisdom that she has provided to all of us will be remembered by future generations. May the Great Spirit guide her through her journey in her new life and provide love and strength to her family.”
In closing, National Chief Atleo remarked that “Chief Margaret Pictou Labillois was a truly remarkable leader who leaves behind a legacy that inspires all of us. Her many achievements are a source of pride and an example of the tremendous potential of our peoples.”
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