For years, as Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Billy Frank Jr. wrote a column called Being Frank.
From September 1986 to May 2014, these columns ran in NWIFC publications and newspapers across the Pacific Northwest. His words document the challenges that tribes faced as they exercised their treaty rights, fought to responsibly manage fisheries, and raised their voices against the loss of salmon habitat.
The political players and news headlines changed over the years, but Billy’s message remained the same: We must recover wild salmon populations to levels that can sustain harvest. We are losing habitat faster than it can be restored, and hatchery programs are essential to make up for the lost and damaged habitat.
All proceeds from the sale of Tell the Truth (available now at amazon.com) go to the Billy Frank Jr. Salmon Forever Fund, managed by Salmon Defense.
About Billy Frank Jr.:
Billy Frank Jr. dedicated his life to defending tribal treaty rights and protecting threatened populations of salmon.
A member of the Nisqually Tribe, he chaired the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for more than 30 years.
Beginning with his first arrest as a teenager in 1945 for “illegal” fishing on his beloved Nisqually River, Billy became a leader of a civil disobedience movement that insisted on the treaty rights guaranteed to Washington tribes more than a century before.
The fish-ins and demonstrations he helped organize in the 1960s and 1970s, along with accompanying lawsuits, led to the Boldt decision of 1974 in the federal case of U.S. v. Washington, which reaffirmed the tribes’ rights to fish as they always had. The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission was formed as a result of that decision.
His life and times are captured in the books “Messages from Frank’s Landing” by Charles Wilkinson, and “Where the Salmon Run” by Trova Heffernan. He passed away May 5, 2014 at the age of 83.
In 2015, President Barack Obama honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.