Billy Frank Jr. as others remember tribal leader

The OlympianMay 9, 2014 

“Billy will always be in the hearts of Nisqually people. Not only was his amazing life’s work something people will remember but also his presence on the level of being father and uncle. Possibly we can all have happiness in the fact that Billy was a true Nisqually and we were blessed to have him in our lives.”

– Nisqually Tribe Chairwoman Cynthia Iyall

“A lot of the things today that we take for granted, Billy and our elders had to fight for. We can never forget that fight. And we always have to – in his memory – continue that fight for our treaty rights.”

– Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and president of the National Congress of American Indians

“I’m saddened by losing a longtime friend. We have lost a wonderful, visionary, ebullient leader. Billy was a person who masterfully engaged and inspired a great diversity of people and interests for effective results in restoring salmon runs and protecting and restoring our ecology. I will miss his cheery style and his inspired leadership. He leaves a wonderful legacy for us all to emulate.”

– state Sen. Karen Fraser

“Frank did more single-handedly to save salmon than any other person. Beginning at age 14 fishing for salmon when he told game officials, “Leave me alone, goddamn it, I live here,” to his death, he was a rough-and-tumble fighter. In the end, he was proved to be right. As a cosponsor of HB 2080, I am especially thankful for legislation this year to vacate the wrongful convictions given to him during his fight.”

– state Rep. Sam Hunt

“Billy leaves a legacy that is unmatched in our state’s history. His activism and steadfast belief in something bigger than himself will benefit every generation that follows. If Washington state were permitted a third sculpture in the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C., I believe Frank would be that person standing alongside Marcus Whitman and Mother Joseph. Billy Frank Jr. was a passionate visionary fighting for justice and sustainability.”

– state Rep. Chris Reykdahl

“Billy was a singular force of nature ... Long after the Fish Wars were settled, Billy remained engaged as ... patriarch of higher education for tribal youth at The Evergreen State College, and a tireless voice for economic and social justice.”

– Secretary of State Kim Wyman

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