VICTORIA -- Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is denouncing racist comments being directed towards a British Columbia Indigenous community that's fighting a COVID-19 outbreak.

Miller says recent comments posted online urging businesses in the Duncan area not to serve Indigenous customers are “disgusting” and “unacceptable.”

He says Canadians do not support such behaviour and he backs local leaders and residents who have spoken up against racism.

Miller's comments at a news conference in Ottawa today come as B.C.'s First Nations Health Authority and health officials on Vancouver Island issued an open letter supporting the Cowichan Tribes.

Cowichan Tribes, the largest single band in B.C. with 4,900 members, issued a stay-at-home order until Jan. 22 after reporting 73 COVID-19 cases since Jan. 1.

Cowichan Tribes general manager Derek Thompson says health officials started administering 600 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to tribal elders today.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021.