Cécile M. (Wawanolet) Joubert Passes On


Cécile M. (Wawanolett) Joubert, 98, passed on peacefully at her home in Troy, New York on October 4, 2006, following a short illness. Cécile was born January 8, 1908 on the Abenaki Reserve at Odanak in the Province of Quebec, Canada. She was the daughter of the late Elie and Marie (Nagazeoi) Wawanolett and the wife of the late Alfred A. Joubert. Cécile is survived by three children, Joyce Hamel, Elie Joubert and Edward Shea; six grandchildren, Michele, Jay, Brian, Tina, Debbie and Terry; and five great-grandchildren, Amber, Karlee, Alysha, Luke and Jeremy.

She spent most of her life in Troy, New York after she and her husband Alfred left Odanak in the 1920's to seek work. They lived and raised their three children in New York. In 1987 Cécile and Alfred returned to Odanak. At that time she found that the use of the Abenaki language had all but disappeared and that less than a dozen people at Odanak could or would still speak the language.

Cécile was a fluent speaker of Abenaki, French and English so she took it upon herself to start teaching the Abenaki language. She became very well known in the Abenaki community for her work as a teacher of Aln8ba8dwa, the Abenaki language. For several years she taught Abenaki at the Wanaskaodemek Cultural Center in Odanak and at the tribal offices of the Missisquoi Band in Swanton, Vermont.

In her later years she spent much of her time teaching Abenaki to those that had an interest in the language. Our Band was particularly pleased to have known her over the years when we would all gather at Odanak for the July gatherings. We all will miss her dearly.

A memorial Mass of Christian Resurrection and Burial will be celebrated in Odanak, Canada at the convenience of the family in the spring of 2007.

Memorial contributions, if desired, may be made to Community Hospice of Rensselaer County, 295 Valley View Blvd., Rensselaer, NY 12144 in memory of Cécile M. (Wawanolet) Joubert.


Cécile Wawanolet, an Abenaki language teacher, reads old books in the schoolhouse where as a girl she was forbidden to speak Abenaki. (File Photograph)

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