Chief Linda Debassige named Rainbow Board trustee

Linda Debassige

SUDBURY – The agenda for a special April 9 meeting of the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) features a motion to appoint M’Chigeeng First Nation Ogimaa-kwe Linda Debassige as a First Nation trustee.

The trustee position has remained vacant for several months following the retirement of long-time RDSB trustee and Indigenous educator Grace Fox, also of M’Chigeeng.

Ogimaa-kwe Debassige was a vocal critic of the RDSB during an outbreak of violence near the start of the school year in mid-September. That incident involved a large number of students at Manitoulin Secondary School and led to concerns over racial overtones that developed during the incident. Ogimaa-kwe Debassige led a procession of concerned community members and elders to the school where their concerns were expressed publicly.

Under the Education Act, a motion appointing the new trustee is required prior to the swearing in and the swearing in is required prior to becoming a member of the board according to Nicole Charette, senior advisor, corporate communications and strategic planning with the RDSB. Ogimaa-kwe Debassige declined to comment as it would not be appropriate prior to her being officially appointed to the board.