Saskatchewan school janitor on paid leave after allegedly told not to speak Cree

Saskatchewan school janitor on paid leave after allegedly told not to speak Cree

TIMBER BAY, Sask. — A janitor from northern Saskatchewan who was allegedly told not to speak Cree says she was recently placed on paid leave, pending the outcome of an investigation by the Northern Lights School Division.

Rose Bradfield, a janitor at the remote Timber Bay School, has said the school’s principal told her last month that it wasn’t right for her to be speaking Cree and that it was rude.

Principal Daryl McKen has denied the allegation.

Bradfield says she was pulled out of a suicide prevention course at the school Monday and told by human resources of her paid leave.

She says she felt embarrassed when she had to go back to the course and gather her belongings.

The school division says it expects the investigation to conclude this week.

Bradfield, whose is in her early 60s, says she wasn’t allowed to speak Cree in school when she was young and now takes any opportunity to speak the language to others who can.

“Cree is my language,” she said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press. “I like speaking Cree because I don’t want to lose it.”

Bradfield has worked at Timber Bay School, located about 260 kilometres north of Saskatoon near Montreal Lake, for more than 10 years.

She has said she didn’t complain, but told her husband and her sister about it. Her sister then shared the story on social media. (MBC Radio)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 25, 2019.

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