The family of Margaret Labillois gathered Sunday afternoon to honour the memory of the prominent First Nations elder in New Brunswick.

Labillois passed away Friday evening. She was 89.

Labillois hails from Eel River Bar First Nation, near Dalhousie.

She was the first person from her community to graduate from high school and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.

Labillois was the first woman to be elected a chief in New Brunswick and a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of New Brunswick.

"On our reserve she brought back the culture. She went into the elementary school teaching our students here, our language and she instilled this in all of her children: what it means to us, who we are as traditional people," said Colleen Gauvin, Labillois’ eldest daughter.

Gauvin said her mother is survived by 69 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"I see in my grandchildren the traditional way, cultural way, going to sweats, learning our language. They are going to take their rightful place in society. This took my mother quite a few years to get to where she is and and I hope that our grandchildren, my grandchildren, will carry on her legacy," she said.

The funeral will be held at St. John Bosco Church in Dalhousie on Tuesday morning.