M’CHIGEENG – Linda Debassige has been appointed as the First Nations trustee with the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) and attended her first board meeting on Tuesday, April 23. She will represent the 11 First Nations communities who have educational service agreements with the Board.
“I would like to extend a warm welcome to Chief Debassige as she begins her new role as trustee for RDSB,” said board chair Doreen Dewar. “We value our relationship with First Nations and look forward to working with Trustee Debassige for the benefit of all students in Rainbow schools.”
His Honour Justice Andre L. Guay administered the declaration of office and oath of allegiance to Trustee Debassige on Thursday, April 18. The oath of allegiance was completed in both the English and Anishinaabemowin languages.
“I do affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Creator and to our children; I will respect the laws of Canada and Ontario, including the recognition and affirmation of the aboriginal and treaty rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Constitution and to the Anishinabek laws, customs and traditions of the people I represent,” she said.
“Ndazhi waawiindmaage nga debwe-wendaagwos miinwaa ezhi d’benmi-goowaanh maaba Debenjged miinwaa g’da-binoojiinhminaanig; nga mnaadendaanan Canada miinwaa Ontario, bi-dgosing miinwaa nsi-dwaamji-gaadeg miinwaa gwek-kwenj-gaadeg maanda Anishinabeg gaazhi waawiindmawndwaa miinwaa giwe aanind bemaadsijig enwe-mingog ezhbiigaazjig Anishinaabe naaknigiwning, zhitwaawnan miinwaa gaabi-zhi bmaadsiwaad bemaadsijig bemiikwagig.”
“I am honoured to be appointed by the 11 First Nations as the First Nations trustee. I look forward to strengthening the relationship between Rainbow District School Board and the First Nations for the benefit of our children,” said Trustee Debassige. “I have received a warm welcome from Chair Dewar and look forward to working with her and fellow trustees in inspiring success for all students by reaching minds and touching hearts.”
Trustee Debassige was born and raised in M’Chigeeng First Nation, where she grew up on the land and is active in the sustainability of Mother Earth. She graduated with honours from Confederation College’s civil engineering technology program in Thunder Bay. She has one son, Pierre, who attends Manitoulin Secondary School.
First elected to M’Chigeeng First Nation council in 2013, Trustee Debassige became only the second female chief to lead M’Chigeeng First Nation in 2015. She is currently serving her second term.
During her tenure as a councillor, she held the portfolios of audit and governance, community safety and land code steering committee. She is currently a co-chair of the Anishinabek Nation Housing, Water and Infrastructure Committee, a co-chair of the housing infrastructure and water committee at the Chiefs of Ontario, and a member of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Housing, Infrastructure and Water.
Trustee Debassige has participated in numerous speaking engagements, university policy forums and media events. She is also on the board of directors of the Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, Mnidoo Mnising Power General Partnership Inc., Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, and is a trustee with the Robinson Huron Treaty.
Trustee Debassige is a past member of the board of directors for the UCCM Anishinabe Police Service, Great Spirit Circle Trail and Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre.
Trustee Debassige enjoys hunting, fishing and sports. In her spare time, she also enjoys being out in the woods and spending time with family.