& Northern Life article on RDSB meeting with M’Chigeeng inaccurate says M’Chigeeng FN

M’Chigeeng FN Press Release

Friday, September 28, 2018 – It has come to our attention that an article was published on the website and Northern Life on September 26 entitled ‘Manitoulin Secondary brawl: Board says meeting with band reps was ‘productive’. We have no choice but to dispute the article, as it greatly misrepresents the facts of the meeting held on September 24, 2018. The fact of the matter is that this meeting had a singular purpose of reviewing and discussing the scholastic future of one (1) M’Chigeeng First Nation student. In no way was M’Chigeeng First Nation ever under the impression that this meeting was to “speak about the particulars that may have led to the incident and how to move forward in the aftermath”.

M’Chigeeng First Nation’s staff composed of the Enaagdenjged and Director of Education both of whom made it very clear that they had no mandate to discuss the matters that occurred at MSS on Friday, September 14 and further only had authority to discuss what was understood to an operational/policy matter concerning a single student. The staff member representing Kenjgewin Teg confirmed same.

M’Chigeeng First Nation is concerned that the Rainbow District School Board elected to share this very private and confidential matter in a very misleading and underhanded way as an attempt to create a smokescreen as to the reality of the situation – a behaviour consistent with the treatment of Manitoulin Island Trustee – Larry Killens. M’Chigeeng First Nation is further concerned that the Board Chair allowed this conversation to take place at a public Rainbow District School Board Meeting and further did not correct the misleading comments made by the Director of Education during September 25, 2018. The recent actions by the Board in this incident further damages the already fractured relationship.

First Nation School Trustee Grace Fox states “I should not have been at that meeting and certainly the RDSB Chair and RDSB Director Blaseg should not have been there. The meeting was not about the First Nations relationship with Rainbow District School Board but about an MSS student and the family of that student – Principal Mohammed should have ensured confidentiality”.

Ogimaa Kwe Debassige has maintained that the eleven (11) Chiefs will be meeting together to discuss a strategy to move forward with respect to issues of longstanding systemic racism, continued unresolved issues surrounding the Rainbow District School Board, Failure of the RDSB to renew and report on the Education Agreements and steps to move forward. Following the meeting, the Chiefs will reach out to Rainbow District School Board for a meeting. This article can be construed as an attempt to sow discord among the eleven (11) First Nations involved with the RDSB.

M’Chigeeng First Nation finds it very curious as to why no contact was made by the journalist reporting on this situation. Because of this careless omission, (and the breach of the Canadian Journalists Association Ethics Guidelines), the article does not state the truth and leaves the First Nation with very serious concerns. The most glaring is that M’Chigeeng First Nation had no knowledge of RDSB meeting on September 25, 2018, wherein the RDSB meeting of September 24 regarding a child of M’Chigeeng First Nation was the topic of discussion.

For more information contact Ogimaa Kwe Linda Debassige at