Billy Frank Jr, Hank Adams and Willie Frank III on KAOS 89.3 fm, April 20th, 2014 at 6pm

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Left to Right

Billy Frank Jr and Hank Adams

I tell my people get ready. That guy, the salmon, he’s coming back.” – Billy Frank Jr.

Decades ago, in a far different America, salmon wars erupted on Northwest rivers. Unknown tribal members held up Indian treaties and took a stand for fishing rights. One was a Nisqually Indian named Billy Frank. “I wasn’t the Billy Frank that I am now,” the Nisqually tribal leader told reporters in 1984. “I was a bitter person.” Says friend Tom Keefe, “When I look at Billy Frank, and I guess I know more about him than most people, I can say there is a guy who decided that he could change the world by changing himself.”

 

American of the past sixty years. From his mediation of disputes between the US government and AIM in the 1970s to his key role in the Trail of Broken Treaties, Adams shaped modern Native activism. For the first time Adams’ writings are collected, providing a well-rounded portrait of this important figure and a firsthand history of Indian country in the late twentieth century.

 

Why Billy’s strategist Hank Adams is “The Most Important Indian”

You could never run out of adjectives describing Hank Adams. The Assiniboine Sioux is uncommonly gifted and marvelously complex. He is as elusive as he is loyal—and rarely without sarcasm. Though few outsiders grasp his role, Adams’s mark is everywhere in Indian Country, from its seminal events to its most obscure. Billy’s friend for a half century, Adams has played a central character at every turn in the Nisqually elder’s life. Hank was the one “making sure you understood that there was a problem,” muses Dan Evans, former governor, of their respective roles in the divisive fish wars. “And Billy was the guy who very quickly started to say, ‘This isn’t working. We’ve got to find a better answer.”

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Willie Frank; Billy Frank Jr.; and Fran Wilshusen at the Nisqually Tribe’s charitable event. Photo by Peggan Hines

 

Willie brings extensive tribal governance experience to his role as a Councilmember. A graduate of Evergreen State College’s Native American Studies program, Willie plans to use his education to work for and with tribal members to plan future growth and development.

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