indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Falmouth Institute - December in Las Vegas
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Nation mourns passing of treaty rights advocate Billy Frank Jr.

Filed Under: Environment | Law | National | Politics
More on: barack obama, bia, bill john baker, billy frank, brian cladoosby, cherokee, derek kilmer, doi, epa, fishing, gina mccarthy, jay inslee, kevin washburn, maria cantwell, mha nation, ncai, nwifc, obituaries, patty murray, sally jewell, salmon, tex hall, treaties, washington, water
   


Billy Frank Jr., 1931-2014. Photo from Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

Tribal, federal and state officials across the country are mourning the passing of treaty rights advocate Billy Frank Jr.

Frank, who was a member of the Nisqually Tribe of Washington, died on Monday at the age of 83. He was recognized worldwide as an expert on treaties, fishing and the environment.

"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,'" President Barack Obama said in a statement. "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."

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who hails from Frank's home state, hailed the long-serving chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission as a visionary. She recently attended a tribal summit in Washington where Frank spoke.

"Two weeks ago, the entire room fell silent at a tribal summit held at the Suquamish reservation in Washington to listen as Billy spoke forcefully and passionately about the need to tackle the growing threat of climate change," Jewell said in a statement. "Billy shared a great sense of urgency that we come together as one people to work toward practical solutions to address its impacts."

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, called Frank an "elder statesman for tribal treaty fishing rights." Frank had been arrested more than 50 times -- the first at the age of 14 -- for exercising his right to fish in the usual and accustomed places in the Northwest.

“His wisdom on the importance of conservation and the protection of natural resources has been recognized by all who love the great outdoors," Washburn said in a statement "Thanks to his leadership and years of hard work, we can continue to appreciate the great gifts of nature that are still with us and the tribes of the Pacific Northwest can still rely on the salmon to sustain them for generations to come."

Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Frank was an "historic and heroic leader of his generation." She said his work changed the way the EPA works with tribes across the nation.

"Through his tireless efforts, as a passionate voice for the protection of our air, water, and land, EPA’s own tribal efforts were strongly influenced in the early 1990’s as we created an office to more directly address tribal issues across the country," McCarthy said in a statement. "We will, in that spirit, continue working to strengthen our government-to-government relationship and partnership with tribal citizens.

National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby said Indian Country owes a large debt to Frank. Cladoosby serves as chairman of the Swinomish Tribe in Washington, whose rights were affirmed by the historic Boldt decision that arose out of Frank's activism.

“Indian Country has lost one of the greatest leaders who fought to protect salmon, water, and quality of life for our people. The loss of a Billy as our teacher, mentor, and elder is immeasurable," Cladoosby said in a press release "Our very way of life is only possible because of the battles Billy fought – without his personal sacrifices, tribes in the Northwest would look very different. My own life would be very different if I had not had been blessed by Billy’s teachings, example, and love. My prayers go out to his family and the many, many others whose lives he touched.”

As an advocate for responsible fisheries management, Franks served as chair of the NWIFC for 30 years. The organization said an announcement about services was pending.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our great leader and good friend, Billy Frank Jr.," NWIFC Vice Chair Lorraine Loomis said in a statement. “He was a champion for treaty rights, the salmon and a better quality of life for all of us who live here."

Tribal leaders from other parts of the country also said Frank was an inspiration. Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker said the late leader was a "champion" for all indigenous people.

"He was a beloved leader, warrior and advocate for tribal sovereignty," Baker said in a statement. "He fought tirelessly for fishing rights that were guaranteed to Native people through treaties negotiated with the federal government. He was ahead of his time in his commitment to natural resource preservation."

Tex Hall, the chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota, recently testified at a hearing in Washington, D.C., alongside Frank. He said Frank always stayed true to his passion.

“Billy never changed – he was always a fighter for the Northwest Tribes, the Salmon which he loved, and the treaties," Hall said in a statement. "Last month, I testified with him at the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and he was still fighting to get full funding for the salmon. He will always be a legend. He was a warrior and his legacy lives on in the lifeblood of the people, the fish, and the waters we depend upon.”

Tributes also poured in from members of Congress, including Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), the former chairwoman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. She said Frank was simply a "legend."

"Billy Frank stood as a guiding light for Native people to stand up for their rights in a non-violent way. His bravery and leadership led to the breakthrough Boldt Decision, which forever changed the landscape of the Pacific Northwest," Cantwell said in a statement. "Today, because of the Boldt Decision, the state and Tribes are partners in the management and preservation of resources that are foundational to the economy of the state."

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) said Franks touched the lives of everyone in the state. "When it came to representing his community and fighting to make a difference, no one worked harder than Billy," she said in a statement "No one could ever replace his incredible joy for life and his unyielding belief in simply doing the right thing."

Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Washington) said America lost a civil rights icon. He hosted the summit where Frank spoke.

“When Billy spoke you listened," Kilmer said in a statement. "We saw that firsthand just last week when he commanded a room that included tribal leaders, federal officials, and the Secretary of the Interior."

Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Washington) called Franks a "selfless leader." He recently signed a bill into law that expunged the convictions of most tribal fishing activists.

"Billy was a champion of tribal rights, of the salmon, and the environment," Inslee said in a statement "He did that even when it meant putting himself in physical danger or facing jail."

"Billy was widely recognized as a great leader and he took on that role with grace and honor. The mere presence of him changed the atmosphere in the room, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Firector Director Phil Anderson added in a statement. "No one ever questioned his role as a leader. No one ever questioned his passion for natural resources. And no one ever questioned his commitment to Indian people."

“Billy was a true statesman who brought an optimistic, can-do approach to environmental and natural resource challenges,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement. “His activism and perseverance helped build the foundation of an enduring legacy that Washington state will never forget.”

Get the Story:
Billy Frank Jr.: Champion of tribal rights dies at age 83 (The Seattle Times 5/6)
Billy Frank Jr., 1931-2014: ‘A Giant’ Will Be Missed (Indian Country Today 5/6)
Tribal Treaty Rights Champion Billy Frank Jr. Dead At Age 83 (KUOW 5/6)
Tribal rights activist, fisherman Frank dies at 83 (The Spokesman Review 5/6)
Billy Frank Jr. devoted his life to defense of fishing rights, salmon habitat (The North Kitsap Herald 5/6)
Tribal leader Billy Frank has died (The Olympian 5/6)
Native American Fishing Activist Billy Frank Jr. Dead at 83 (Time 5/6)
BILLY FRANK JR. PASSES AWAY AT 83 (The Sky Valley Chronicle 5/6)
Billy Frank Jr., tribal fishing activist, dies (AP 5/6)
Billy Frank Jr.: Appreciating a Northwest civil rights legend (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 5/5)
Billy Frank, Jr., a tribal activist and “a true legend,” dies (The Columbian 5/5)
Tribal fishing rights activist Billy Frank Jr. dies (The Puget Sound Business Journal 5/5)
Indian leader, activist Billy Frank Jr. dies at 83 (The Tukwila Reporter 5/5)

Some Opinions:
Editorial: Billy Frank Jr. spoke for salmon, tribes and the natural environment (The Seattle Times 5/6)
Editorial: Billy Frank Jr. — activist, icon, environmental giant (The Bellingham Herald 5/6)
Jeff Shaw: America has lost a giant (NC Policy Watch 5/5)

Related Stories:
Billy Frank: Oil terminal project threatens fishing in Washington (5/6)
Ryan Wilson: Indian Country loses a great warrior in Billy Frank (5/6)
Treaty rights advocate Billy Frank Jr. passes away at age of 83 (5/5)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribe threw away late veteran's memorabilia (10/31)
Mark Trahant: The Native vote could decide the 2014 election (10/31)
Richard Peterson: Sen. Begich supports Alaska Native issues (10/31)
NCAI investigates conduct of treasurer at annual convention (10/31)
Red Lake News: Tribe welcomes Sen. Tester and Sen. Franken (10/31)
Former chairman of Chippewa Cree Tribe faces more charges (10/31)
Texas couple accused of selling fake tribal membership cards (10/31)
Moapa Band loses bid for $438M solar facility on reservation (10/31)
Passamaquoddy Tribe won't talk with tidal power developers (10/31)
Oregon tribe anticipates May 2015 opening for Class II casino (10/31)
Trial opens in case connected to Choctaw Nation casino work (10/31)
Editorial: Off-reservation gaming project unfair to other tribes (10/31)
Opinion: Menominee Nation exploits loophole to pursue casino (10/31)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux officer rejoins Rapid City police (10/30)
Mark Trahant: Native voters must be prepared on election day (10/30)
Kevin Gover: Mascot fight exposes myths about Native people (10/30)
Northern Arapaho Tribe: Newspaper got it wrong on joint council (10/30)
Peter d'Errico: Kevin Washburn honored by Indian law students (10/30)
Chris Deschene still urging Navajo Nation voters to choose him (10/30)
Tribes in North Carolina back Democrat Sen. Hagan in tight race (10/30)
NWPR: Tribes take steps to control growing herds of wild horses (10/30)
Opinion: Helping the Tongva people revive their own language (10/30)
Judge grants injunction to keep Chukchansi Tribe casino closed (10/30)
Tribes in South Dakota would benefit from gaming referendum (10/30)
Employee at Puyallup Tribe's casino gets wedding ring returned (10/30)
Editorial: Keep tribal casinos in California on existing Indian land (10/30)
Column: Menominee Nation off-reservation casino goes ignored (10/30)
Quapaw Tribe faces competition for Kansas commercial casino (10/30)
Native Sun News: Montana tribe sees cut in heating assistance (10/29)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Senate race is a real test of Native policy (10/29)
Winona LaDuke: Taking treaty advice from indigenous nations (10/29)
Vena A-Dae Romero: FDA failing to consult tribal governments (10/29)
Zachary Pullin: Native Americans overcame barriers to voting (10/29)
Navajo Nation president vetoes bill to address language issue (10/29)
Prairie Island Indian Community sues over nuclear waste rule (10/29)
County's letter on CSKT water compact talks stirs controversy (10/29)
Vice: Hip-hop artist Drezus on new journey after jail sentence (10/29)
Opinion: Overcoming stereotypes of Native American culture (10/29)
Charges sought in dispute at Chukchansi Tribe's closed casino (10/29)
Pechanga Band chair featured in ads against North Fork casino (10/29)
Grand Ronde Tribes continue fight against Cowlitz Tribe casino (10/29)
Puyallup Tribe offers reward for return of casino worker's ring (10/29)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.