The Yaqan Nukiy, also known as the Lower Kootenay Band (LKB), is choosing to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in a different way this year.
To coincide with the day on June 21, a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held in partnership with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Canadian Border Services Agency, Representatives of the State of Idaho, the United States National Guard, and the Ktunaxa Nation Council.
The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho is sharing extra doses of vaccines for either first or second doses.
“With this initiative, I feel it is a true reflection of who we are as Ktunaxa people,” said Nasukin (Chief) Jason Louie of the LKB. “Our true spirit has always been to help our neighbours and this clinic is an example of our commitment.”
He said that Indigenous Peoples Day lost its meaning over the years, as he felt someone else’s agenda was behind the celebrations.
“Whether it’s a municipality or a school district, they want us to sing and dance, and in my opinion, it just became a sideshow,” he said.
“As more Canadians begin to truly understand the ordeals that Indigenous people have faced, and continue to face, in this country, Yaqan Nukiy wants to be an example of what can be accomplished when we all work together.”
The clinic will be open to anyone in the general public, not just members of the LKB.
On the morning of June 21, participants will meet at the parking lot of the LKB Administration Building located at 830 Simon Road. Those who attend the clinic are asked to wear mask and maintain physical distancing.
Nurses will be on site to sign a required medical letter for every person attending the clinic to indicate essential travel. Registration and documentation is very important to serve as exemption from quarantine requirements for cross-border travel.
Participants will then be transported by bus to Porthill Border Crossing where the vaccine will be administered by nursing staff from the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, in co-operation with the United States Border Service.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer (also approved for children aged 12 to 18) will be available. To be eligible for a second dose, a minimum of 28 days must have passed from the initial dose.
A registered nurse on the bus will monitor those who received the vaccine for a minimum of 15 minutes on the drive back to the LKB parking lot.
To register for a vaccination, please call Angie at 250-428-6967 by 4 p.m. on June 16. This is the single point of contact. Please do not call LKB Administration nor Canadian Border Services for information.
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