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Linda Debassige becomes Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief

Following a Traditional Stand-up Election, Anishinabek Nation Chiefs-in-Assembly elected M’Chigeeng's Linda Debassige as the Grand Council Chief for the 2024-27 term.
Linda Debassige becomes Grand Council Chief for the Anishinabek Nation at the 2024 Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Assembly. (Anishinabek Nation/Youtube)

SUDBURY – During the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Assembly June 5, candidates Reg Niganobe and Linda Debassige participated in the Stand-up Election, which went in Debassige’s favour in a 28-9 vote.

This historic vote marks the first-ever Anishinaabekwe Grand Council Chief for the Anishinabek Nation.

In her acceptance speech to the Anishinabek Nation, Debassige said: “We have experiences together. We have successes together. We have struggles. But together, that's wherein lies the solutions.

"Together is leadership, your councils, and the citizens of the Anishinabek Nation. That's where the answer is. It's with us and it's time for us to wake up, stand up, and when we're feeling a bit down because I know full well what it's like in our communities. I know full well how much we can be attacked. How much we can be put down. How much our own people are fighting our own.

“We need to work together to turn that around because our fight is not with our people. Our way of life rests on us becoming healthier, working together in a united way and pushing back on the forces that continue to oppress us and take things away. I know we can do that. I believe in that.”

Debassige has served as Gimaa Kwe (Chief) of her community of M’Chigeeng First Nation for nearly a decade, as well as previously serving as political advisor to former Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.

She is also the vice-chair of the Rainbow District School Board and the board's First Nations trustee.

“I look forward to working with everybody and I look forward to the connections we can make together at a deeper level. I look forward to the solutions that we can come up with together where we see the real benefit at home, grassroots on the ground and we're a stronger nation for that," Debassige said.

“If you guys are going to be working together, we will have proxy delegates on behalf of myself and my community who stood behind me. I just wanted to extend my sincere appreciation for the support that you've shown me.”

Before the Grand Council Chief stand-up election was cast, Anishinabek Nation also voted in a Deputy Grand Council Chief. Chris Plain won the stand-up election vote 21-16 over Melvin Hardy.

Plain currently serves as chief of Aamjiwnaang First Nation and also held the Interim Southwest Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief position at the Anishinabek Nation.

“I’m grateful to the community of Aamjiwnaang First Nation for allowing me to stand for this position and I look forward to serving the Anishinabek Nation with the new Grand Council Chief to the best of our abilities for all of the nations,” Plain said.

The primary duty of the Grand Council Chief and Deputy Grand Council Chief is to serve the collective will and protect the rights and interests of the Anishinabek Nation and E’Dbendaagzijig.

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Clint Fleury

About the Author: Clint Fleury

Clint Fleury is a web reporter covering Northwestern Ontario and the Superior North regions.
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