Editorial: Billy Frank Jr. was a true American civil rights leader

The program from the funeral service for Billy Frank Jr., 1931-2014.

Washington newspaper pays tribute to treaty rights advocate Billy Frank Jr., who was laid to rest on Sunday:
Before he died this week, American icon Billy Frank Jr. lived to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Boldt Decision, in which he played a central role.

And he lived to hear the state of Washington apologize for its heavy-handed actions during the 1960s Fish Wars by offering to vacate the numerous criminal convictions that he and other tribal fishing rights activists had accumulated.

We hope those small affirmations of his life’s work help him rest in peace.

Frank, who was born in 1931, was arrested for the first time in 1945 for exercising his treaty right to fish in the Nisqually River and its tributary, Muck Creek. In the long and painful struggle to protect those rights, he would be arrested more than 50 times.

In the early days of that struggle, he said, “I was not a policy guy. I was a getting-arrested guy.”

Get the Story:
Editorial: Billy Frank Jr.: An important civil rights leader (The Belllingham Herald 5/9)

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