By Joyce Jonathan Crone Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Bethany Debassige, proudly wearing her purple CUPE T-shirt, sign in hand, walks the main street of Bracebridge with swarms of other purple shirts. Twenty-five years old, the experience of standing up for herself is not new: “Our rights have been taken away; we are doing this to create change for the future.” Debassige works at Honey Harbour Public School as a custodian. She is First Nations, originally from M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. Debassige, born in Orillia, was raised, “off reserve” and returned to M’Chigeeng after the death of her father to reconnect with family. Something was missing in Debassige’s life, and she knew it. At 23 years of age, sheparticipated in a life-changing educational opportunity on M’Chigeeng, where she learned
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