By Joel Connelly
When his life ended Monday, at the age of 83, Frank had become a preeminent Washington civil rights leader, a Native American who replaced confrontation with cooperation in restoring the salmon runs that help define the Pacific Northwest.
Billy Frank Jr., longtime chairman of Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, dead at 83
By John Dodge
The Nisqually tribal member was longtime chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and a key figure in the Indian fish-ins of the 1960s and 1970s, which led to the court ruling known as the Boldt decision.
By Richard Walker
A big mantle it is. In his 83 years, the Nisqually Tribe citizen defended treaty rights in the Northwest and indigenous sovereignty throughout Indian country, guided opposing sides to agreement on how to protect natural resources, helped bring down two dams on the Elwha River, produced an Emmy Award-winning series on Indian country. He chaired the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for 34 years, served as a trustee of The Evergreen State College for seven.
Frank, whose honors included the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, was as comfortable in the Oval Office as he was in a tribal chairperson’s office.
“He was a giant in Indian country and we’re going to miss him,” McCoy said.
By Levi Rickert
“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Billy Frank, Jr. – Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and a member of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. Billy fought for treaty rights to fish the waters of the Pacific Northwest, a battle he finally won in 1974 after being arrested many times during tribal “fish-ins”. Today, thanks to his courage and determined effort, our resources are better protected, and more tribes are able to enjoy the rights preserved for them more than a century ago. Billy never stopped fighting to make sure future generations would be able to enjoy the outdoors as he did, and his passion on the issue of climate change should serve as an inspiration to us all. I extend my deepest sympathies to the Nisqually Indian Tribe, and to Billy’s family, and to his many friends who so greatly admired him.”