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Ktunaxa Nation flag raised at Recovery Ranch

The Ktunaxa Nation’s flag now flies above Recovery Ranch, near Fort Steele.

ʔaq̓am Nasuʔkin (Chief) Joe Pierre Jr. said the flag-raising ceremony was a symbolic gesture of the partnership between the ranch and the nation.

“With Ktunaxa people, we very much have a deep understanding and respect for our flag,” said Pierre.

“The words that were sung here were ‘our flag goes first, we follow our flag.’ I’m glad the organization here found it in their hearts to want to follow that flag at this place as well.”

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Pierre said he was honoured to be involved in the ceremony.

“I think the work they’re doing out here is very important,” said Pierre.

“The idea of honouring the flag, the Ktunaxa people and honouring the lands may even help a little bit of the understanding of how we do things here.”

In 2022, the B.C. government announced 10 publicly funded recovery beds at the ranch, with indigenous patients given priority access.

More: Province gives funding to East Kootenay mental health and substance use supports (Oct 13, 2022)

The ranch offers services for people seeking help in their recovery from addictions.

“This is a time where this kind of work is very needed. There are many people who are unwell from the toxic drug crisis,” said Pierre.

“Ktunaxa people are in need of this kind of help, but we also understand that people who choose our homelands for their home are also in need of this help.”

The ceremony comes just days after B.C. passed the eighth anniversary of the declaration of a public health emergency in response to toxic drug-related deaths.

More: Local outreach work continues as drug poisoning crisis enters eighth year (Apr 15, 2024)

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