With more doses than appointments, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation expanded its eligibility to include not only all of Umatilla County, but also several neighboring counties.
The tribes held a two day clinic on Monday, April 12 and Tuesday, April 13, at Wildhorse Resort & Casino, open to the 11 counties that span the CTUIR’s ceded territory.
In Oregon, all residents 16 years old and older that live in Umatilla, Morrow, Union, Baker, Wallowa, Grant and Malheur counties were eligible for the vaccine. In Washington, the new rules applied to Benton, Walla Walla, Columbia and Garfield counties.
In a statement, Yellowhawk CEO Lisa Guzman explained why the Tribes made the last-minute expansion.
“We have more than 1,700 first doses to provide, but as of this morning only 600 appointments are filled,” she said before the clinic took place. “We are eager to support our surrounding counties and get more people in the door.”
The Umatilla, Cayuse and Walla Walla’s territory used to include much of Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington before a 19th century treaty between the U.S. government and the Tribes shrunk their footprint to a much smaller piece of land in Umatilla County. The CTUIR’s ceded territory doesn’t fit cleanly with modern county lines, and the ceded land’s boundaries cover only a small portion of some counties. But all residents of the 11 counties are eligible for the vaccine, regardless of whether they live on the ceded land.