Cranbrook Urgent & Primary Care Centre marks one year anniversary

(December 15, 2022)

The Numa Ka.Kin drum group (Moose, Deanna, Chris and Patrick) helped mark the one-year anniversary of the Cranbrook Urgent & Primary Care Centre. (Photo courtesy East Kootenay Division of Family Practice)

Cranbrook Urgent & Primary Care Centre marks one year anniversary

ʔa·kisk̓aqǂiʔit \ Cranbrook, B.C. –

The Cranbrook Urgent & Primary Care Centre (UPCC) is marking one year of expanded access to services and team-based health care in the community.

Between Dec. 8, 2021, and Oct. 31, 2022, there have been 25,095 appointments provided, and 6,522 unique patients have been served at this location.

“It’s exciting the Cranbrook UPCC is celebrating this significant anniversary. Throughout the past year, the centre has provided more people with better access to team-based health care while receiving crucial treatment in their community,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

Urgent and primary care centres support people who are experiencing non-life-threatening conditions and need to see a health-care provider within 12 to 24 hours, but they do not require an emergency department visit.

“We have been trying to improve access to care for the community, and I hope that people without a family doctor or nurse practitioner have been able to receive quality comprehensive care,” said Dr. Paula Dubois, UPCC family physician. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as they wait to be seen.”

The UPCC is part of the East Kootenay Primary Care Network (EK PCN), a group of regional health care providers who work together to offer comprehensive, person-centered health care that is equitable and culturally safe.

“The care centre, and the partnership that supports it, is beneficial to the Ktunaxa Nation. It’s vital to our people to have access to these services and to culturally safe care. We’re establishing that here, including bringing in Ktunaxa language and respecting our cultural values,” said Jared Basil, Ktunaxa Cultural Safety Educator with Ktunaxa Nation Council.

The Cranbrook UPCC currently has 24 employees, including a social worker, two physiotherapists, an occupational therapist, six registered nurses, three nurse practitioners, three family physicians and seven medial office assistants. Interior Health and the EK PCN are continuing recruitment efforts so that the centre will be fully staffed in the near future.

The UPCC is located in the Baker Street Professional Centre at 1311 2nd St. N., the former Cranbrook mall downtown.

The UPCC is a team based environment that currently offers urgent care, maternity care and allied health services.

The team-based approach to care means more people have added support for their immediate and long-term health needs.

“All members of the health care team are integral to providing comprehensive care. Through a collaborative approach, we regularly communicate with each other, along with patients, regarding how best to support those with complex medical and social needs,” said. Dr. Dubois. “I think patients benefit greatly from having access to the team.”

“The UPCC sees more than 100 people per day, and patients are connected with the health-care provider that best meets their needs such as a physician, nurse, physiotherapist, social worker and so on,” said Tara Fiedler-Graham, nurse practitioner.

“We are fortunate to have PCN community services housed within the centre. These services provide timely and affordable access to allied health.”

Cranbrook resident Katy Fedorchuk recently accessed PCN physiotherapy services at the UPCC after her family doctor referred her to the PCN physiotherapist to treat golfers’ elbow. PCN services are available to all Cranbrook residents either by referral through a family doctor or referral through a primary care provider at the UPCC.

“On my first visit with the physiotherapist, I was provided information on the problem, as well as instructed on exercises that would be beneficial to the healing process,” said Fedorchuk.

“Being taught when and how to properly do these exercises resulted in a significant improvement over the two-week period between my appointments. I found the process all very straight forward, supportive and timely — the UPCC is in a good location, staff are friendly, and I was happy to have access to this health care service.”

The UPCC is currently open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on statutory holidays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Cranbrook UPCC is a collaboration between Interior Health, Ministry of Health, Kootenay East Regional Hospital District, East Kootenay Division of Family Practice and Ktunaxa Nation.

Trudeau hosts the world on biodiversity, but dismisses First Nations at home


Photo: Kootenai Tribe of Idaho

As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosts the international community in Montreal this week for the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, the six Indigenous governments from the transboundary Ktunaxa Nation are calling him out on his own country’s failure to honour the Ktunaxa Nation’s sovereignty and protect ecosystems and species from mine pollution.

In a joint letter, the six Ktunaxa Nation governments call for the leaders of Canada and the U.S. to act now to address the legacy and ongoing impacts of open-pit coal mining in the Elk Valley of southeast British Columbia. Over a century of mountain top removal mining has laid waste to the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation, contaminating the transboundary Kootenay(i) River and fish that depend on it, and delivering mine pollution hundreds of kilometres downstream, into Montana, Idaho and into the Columbia River watershed, as it flows back into Canada.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Nation’s unanswered request that Canada join with them and the United States on a reference to the International Joint Commission to address legacy and ongoing contamination from large-scale coal mining in the Transboundary Kootenay(i) Watershed.

“We write to remind you of your commitments to Indigenous governments and ask that you adhere to the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909,” the six Nation governments urge in the letter, adding, “Canada’s obligations under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) and the United States commitment to Nation-to-Nation engagement and Environmental Justice for Indigenous Peoples are being flagrantly disregarded.”

Nasuʔkins (Chiefs) and Council Members from the six Ktunaxa governments of Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it First Nation [Tobacco Plains]; ʔakisq̓nuk̓ First Nation [Windermere]; Yaqan Nuʔkiy [Lower Kootenay Band]; ʔaq̓am [Cranbrook]; Kupawiȼq̓nuk [Ksanka Band, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes]; and ʔaq̓anqmi [Kootenai Tribe of Idaho] have joined together across their traditional territory, which spans the boundary between the United States and Canada, to demand action on the environmental and cultural devastation arising from the Elk Valley of southeast British Columbia.

Canada’s role as host to the United Nations Biodiversity Conference this week underscores the country’s hypocrisy in refusing to honour the Ktunaxa Nation’s request to join them in a reference to the International Joint Commission to address the mining impacts in the Kootenay(i) River.

“How is it that Prime Minister Trudeau and Canada can commit to halting biodiversity loss through real collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, and yet completely disregard our plea to act in solidarity for a decade? Is this what honoring Indigenous governments looks like in Canada?” asks Chairman Tom McDonald from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, sister government to the Ktunaxa in Canada.

Insult was added to injury when recent Freedom of Information requests revealed collusion across the mining industry, the province of British Columbia and Trudeau’s government; all aimed at defeating the Ktunaxa Nation request for an International Joint Commission reference, excluding them from decision-making, and preventing an objective and transparent process to address this legacy mining issue.

“We stand united in the Ktunaxa principle of the reciprocal stewardship of ʔa·kxam̓is q̓api qapsin (All Living Things),” said Ktunaxa Nation Chair Kathryn Teneese.

“This means a one-river approach that isn’t hindered by a willful lack of engagement or coal mining profits and that recognizes the fundamental need for clean water, healthy fish, and the protection of biodiversity. There are solutions to be found—the IJC reference is the next step to finding them.”

Vice Chairman Gary Aitken Jr., leadership of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, shared the following remarks, “The Kootenai River is the lifeblood of our people, and of the Kootenai River white sturgeon and burbot. Pollution from these Canadian mines threatens to permanently destroy all of this. How can Trudeau promise to stand by Indigenous governments and address global deterioration of biodiversity and ignore this request at home to honor UNDRIP and the Boundary Waters Treaty?”

As the international community gathers in Montreal this week for the United Nations COP15 Biodiversity Conference, we’re calling on Canada to truly commit to the meeting’s goal of protecting nature and respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and join the United States and the six governments of the transboundary Ktunaxa Nation in a joint reference to the International Joint Commission.


Read the joint letter HERE

Review the released documents HERE

For comment:

Kathryn Teneese, Chair, Ktunaxa Nation Council

Rich Janssen, Department Head, Natural Resources Department, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes,, 406-261-3356

Shawn Young, Director, Fish and Wildlife Department, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho,, 208-597-4490

Additional story:

Statement: KNC on released documents regarding Kootenay Watershed pollution

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Statement: KNC on released documents regarding Kootenay Watershed pollution

Documents: Global Affairs Canada shelves a joint international initiative to address Kootenay watershed selenium contamination

Canada’s failure to respect binding international law and address pollution is a serious concern to all who call the Kootenay watershed their home  


ʔa·kisk̓aqǂiʔit (Cranbrook, B.C.):

The Ktunaxa Nation Council Society (KNC) recently received documents under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) which show the Province of B.C. may have pressured Canada to drop its support for a joint US-Canada study into pollution in the Kootenay Watershed. The documents are posted on the Provincial website.

In April of 2022, Global Affairs Canada notified KNC that it would no longer support a ‘reference’ to the International Joint Commission (IJC) to study and seek solutions to the transboundary selenium contamination due to mining activities in the Elk Valley in British Columbia.

The IJC is an independent Canadian-U.S. body that mediates transboundary water disputes. It is guided by the Boundary Waters Treaty, signed by Canada and the United States in 1909.

The released documents reveal that officials from the highest levels of the Federal and provincial governments engaged in discussions about the reference which excluded Ktunaxa and ignored Ktunaxa title, rights and governance authority.

In the context of continued pollution, the abandonment of the IJC reference for the Kootenay watershed by Canada came as a shock to the Ktunaxa First Nations and sister tribes in the U.S., the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (KTOI).

The failure of Canada to live up to and respect binding international law is a serious concern to all who call the Kootenay watershed their home.

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) had been working with US Department of State on a concept paper to support the possible joint reference which was intended to be shared at the April, 2022 bilateral meeting. GAC refused to share the draft paper and other critically important information with the Ktunaxa First Nations, while sharing information with B.C. directly and allowing the province to access Federal decision makers. This is a breach of the federal government’s duty to consult.

Despite both Canada and B.C. having committed to fully implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the released documents fail to demonstrate, or even acknowledge, these commitments. UNDRIP includes the recognition of the rights and jurisdictions of Indigenous Peoples, and the obligation of governments to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before making decisions or taking actions that affect their rights and lands.


For decades the Province of B.C. has approved coal mine developments in the Elk Valley which have been shown to impair the water quality of the Kootenay watershed.

Leadership of the Ktunaxa First Nations have expressed concerns about the cumulative effects of industrial activities in the watershed and the failure of provincial and Federal regulatory regimes to mitigate the impacts.

Ten years ago the joint councils of the KNC, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (KTOI) first requested Federal action through a reference to the IJC regarding concerns for the Kootenay watershed and ʔa·kxam̓is q̓api qapsin (All Living Things) within it.

This spring selenium levels at the international boundary peaked at 2.4 micrograms per litre, which is three times Montana’s site-specific selenium standard of 0.8 micrograms per litre.

Exceedances of this magnitude pose risk to aquatic life. In light of these risks, there is a long-standing need for Federal involvement in the non-partisan search for solutions.

The Ktunaxa First Nations and the KNC continue to support the requests made by Montana Department of Environmental Quality, CSKT and KTOI, and the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Geological Survey to have an IJC reference that evaluates and makes independent, scientifically based recommendations on the transboundary selenium contamination in this watershed.

While there has been unprecedented support from the IJC commissioners and from US Department of State, the Canadian government remains non-committal on meeting its obligations and commitments to ensure that the waters of the Kootenay watershed are healthy for the generations to come.

The Ktunaxa First Nations stand united with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in the Ktunaxa principle of reciprocal stewardship of ʔa·kxam̓is q̓api qapsin and a one-river approach, irrespective of any imposed international boundary.


Contact: Ktunaxa Nation Council

To review the released documents:

For more information regarding the IJC see:


#KtunaxaHomelands campaign earns national award

#KtunaxaHomelands Earns National Award
from the Economic Developers Association of Canada

ʔa·kisk̓aqǂiʔit / Cranbrook, BC (October 26, 2022) – The City of Cranbrook recently accepted a national award from the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) for Best Advertising Campaign.

The award recognized the exceptional work produced in the Ktunaxa Homelands campaign, which launched in the spring of 2022.

The campaign, which depicted the Ktunaxa Creation Story through a three-part video series, was a collaboration between the Ktunaxa Nation, Cranbrook Tourism, Tourism Fernie and Tourism Kimberley.

The Ktunaxa Homelands campaign aims to help locals and visitors gain an understanding of how the Rockies and Kootenay waterways were formed, while appreciating the significance of the Hoodoos, all from a Ktunaxa perspective.

The Ktunaxa Nation Council Economic Investment Sector and their partners started work on the promotional campaign in 2020.

Janice Alpine, responsible for Ktunaxa Tourism Engagement, recognized that the Kootenay Region—her homeland of Ktunaxa ʔamakʔis—was not a well-known location, yet was a part of “SuperNatural BC,” and “Beautiful BC” campaigns.

Alpine recognized that the Ktunaxa story and perspective were needed to support those campaigns, and were clearly missing.

“As we reclaim our stories of the land, we can now share with our neighbours and visitors,” she said. “We want to create an experience to be held in the memory, which can be taken away and revisited anytime.”

Darren Brewer, Business Development Office for the City of Cranbrook accepted the award at the EDAC’s annual conference in Kingston, Ontario, in early October.

“It was an honor to accept this prestigious national award on behalf of our communities,” he said. “Ktunaxa Homelands won the award for ‘Best Advertising Campaign’ in its budget category, and was a ‘best of budget’ contender for the EDAC Cup, which recognizes the top-three, ‘best-of-the-best’ in Canada.

“Thank you and congratulations to everyone who contributed, especially to Janice Alpine and Kristy Jahn Smith, whose vision and passion created this meaningful initiative. This award is a testament to teamwork, and it provided a national stage for the Ktunaxa Homelands project.”

Alpine said that “Visitors to our homelands are looking for answers to questions like ‘Is there a tribe here?’ and ‘What did they use this land for?’ They want to know about places they visit, the places they paddle, hike to, bike through. Right where they are standing—what does that place mean to Ktunaxa?”

She added that it was only through the support of the partners, including the destination management organizations, Columbia Basin Trust, Destination BC and Ktunaxa citizens, that the Ktunaxa Homelands campaign was realized.

Collaboration Lead Kristy-Jahn Smith of Cranbrook Tourism, said, “Visitors to our region want to know the history of this place, and we know we have a role to play in communicating the broader history of our region and its first peoples.

“We want to support Ktunaxa in telling their stories in their words. I feel we have achieved that in this collaboration, and look forward to more work together in future.”

The project spanned across the Ktunaxa Homelands, including the communities of Cranbrook, Kimberley, and Fernie, and was supported with funding from the communities as well as the Columbia Basin Trust, Destination British Columbia.

Learn more at

Media release from EDAC: Ktunaxa Homelands – EDAC

Download (PDF, 275KB)

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