Ogimaa Kwe (Chief) Linda Debassige has been appointed First Nations trustee with Rainbow District School Board.
Debassige attended her first board meeting April 23. She will represent the 11 First Nations communities who have educational service agreements with the Board.
She replaces Grace Fox, who served as First Nations trustee with the board for many years, and retired from the position after the last trustee election in the fall.
“I would like to extend a warm welcome to Chief Debassige as she begins her new role as Trustee for Rainbow District School Board,” said board chair Doreen Dewar, in a press release.
“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 André L. Guay administered the Declaration of Office and Oath of Allegiance to Debassige April 18. The Oath of Allegiance was completed in both the English and Anishinabemowin languages.
“I am honoured to be appointed by the 11 First Nations as the First Nations Trustee,” she said.
I look forward to strengthening the relationship between Rainbow District School Board and the First Nations for the benefit of our children. 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.”
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 Chief and Council in 2013, Debassige became 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.
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.
Debassige is a past member of the Board of Directors for the UCCM Anishinabe Police Services, Great Spirit Circle Trail and Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre.
She enjoys hunting, fishing and sports. In her spare time, she also enjoys being out in the woods and spending time with family.