Yaqan NuɁkiy (Lower Kootenay Band) will be partnering with U.S. organizations to hold a cross-border drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
People must register before 4:00 p.m.on June 16th, with the actual clinic taking place on June 21st.
Jason Louie, Nasuʔkin (Chief) of Yaqan NuɁkiy said attendees should arrive at the Yaqan NuɁkiy office at 830 Simon Road in Creston, where they will then be transported by bus across the Porthill Border Crossing.
“We will have registered nurses on the busses that will be travelling to Porthill,” explained Louie. “There is a very important document that will be needed and will be posted on the Ktunaxa Nation website. That is what you need to bring to the border that will exempt you from a 14-day mandatory quarantine. What it is, in essence, is a referral from a medical professional saying it’s essential that you get the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Jason Louie, Nasuʔkin (Chief) of Yaqan NuɁkiy said the clinic will be made a reality through work done by Yaqan NuɁkiy, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Canadian Border Services Agency, Representatives of the State of Idaho, the United States National Guard and the Ktunaxa Nation Council.
Louie said they currently have 150 people registered for the drive-thru clinic, more than he ever anticipated.
“I had no idea that we would get to the numbers we’re at now,” said Louie. “I was concerned we did all this collaboration with the United States, the different health authorities, customs and we would only get ten people, but the last count was 150 people. That exceeded what I thought it was going to be.”
Louie said the clinic is an important way to speed up vaccination rollout in the community.
“Right now this is 150 people that we’re closer to getting back to hockey games, going to movies, concerts and things like that,” added Louie. “I really dislike the saying, we’re all in this together, we really weren’t, but we want to help people.”
The clinic takes place on National Indigenous People Days, which Louie said was no coincidence.
“In my experience through the years, Indigenous People Day has always been someone else’s agenda. They wanted singing, dancing and that is something about who we are, but it isn’t a true definition of who the Ktunaxa people are,” said Louie. “We wanted to showcase the true spirit of the Ktunaxa people, where we are a giving people, where we are a caring people and in times of crisis helped each other out and others.”
Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be available to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people attending the drive-thru.
More: Lower Kootenay Band to host cross-border COVID-19 vaccine clinic (June 7, 2021)
**Story by Josiah Spyker**
**Interview supplied by Sam Pike**