Sen. Cantwell: 'He Was A Legend Among Men,' On Passing Of Tribal - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sen. Cantwell: 'He Was A Legend Among Men,' On Passing Of Tribal Fishing Activist Billy Frank Jr.

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Cantwell Statement on the Passing of Billy Frank Jr.

Cantwell: ‘Billy Frank was a legend among men’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement on the passing of civil rights leader Billy Frank, Jr., a Nisqually Tribal elder and Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

“Billy Frank was a legend among men,” said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Today, America lost a civil rights leader whose impact will be felt for generations to come.

“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. 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.

“Until the very end, Billy continued to fight for Tribes’ Treaty rights, including fighting for a healthy environment that can sustain salmon and other resources for the next generations.

“I wish to send my condolences to Billy’s family, many of whom continue his great work today. Indian Country will miss this giant of a man. I will miss my friend and the smile that he always brought to my face.”

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PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

SEATTLE (AP) - Billy Frank Jr., the tribal fisherman who led the Northwest "fish wars" that helped restore fishing rights for American Indians four decades ago, has died at age 83.
    
The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission on Monday confirmed his death.
    
Frank was first arrested for salmon fishing as a boy in 1945 - an event that led him on a long campaign for tribal rights. He and others were repeatedly arrested as they staged "fish ins" demanding the right to fish in their historical waters, as they were guaranteed in treaties when they ceded land to white settlers in the 19th century.
    
In 1974, U.S. District Judge George Boldt affirmed the tribes' right to half of the fish harvest - and the nation's obligation to honor the old treaties.
    
Frank continued to be an environmental leader and activist for salmon recovery.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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