Hank Adams, once described by Vine Deloria, Jr. as being “The most important Indian” in the country, will be sharing with us on KAOS 89.3 fm. Hank is one of the iconic figures in the American Indian civil rights movement. An Assiniboine-Sioux from Montana, he moved to the Northwest as a youth and never left. It would be difficult to find an event during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s that Hank Adams was not involved in. He was a central figure in the struggle of the Northwest coast tribes to secure their inherent fishing rights.
In 1971 he was shot in the stomach while guarding Indian fishing nets, allegedly by white fishermen. Adams and the other Indian fishing activists preserved, and eventually their acts of resistance not only helped bring about the landmark court case U.S. v. Washington – the Boldt decision – but proved to be the impetus for an entire movement. Hank Adams was everywhere during this time period: Alcatraz, the Trail of Broken Treaties caravan, and Wounded Knee were just a few of the events in which he played a key role in. Adams was in many respects the “intellectual genius” of the movement, and wrote numerous position papers, including “The Twenty Points,” regarded as one of the most comprehensive Indigenous policy proposals ever devised.
Recently Dr. David E. Wilkins edited a collection of his best writings in a volume entitled The Hank Adams Reader (2012). In 2006, Indian Country Today named Hank as recipient of its third (Billy Frank, Jr. and Deloria being the first and second respectively) American Indian Visionary Award. Recently Hank Adams was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Native leadership from Northwest Indian College.
Photo by Kimberly Adams
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.”
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.
photo by Deborah L Preston
left to right
Hank Adams, Ramona Bennett and Billy Frank Jr. talk about the history of the Fish Wars.
Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Facebook
Was thinking that Governor Inslee should write another proclamation to honor the First Peoples of this land. Thinking we should make it for February 12th, it will be a day to be witness that the first people are still here. Thank you Creator! The day would honor the Boldt Decision and the ancestors of this land! What do you guys say ? We all need to write to him and make this so.
Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002
Send Gov. Inslee an e-message
TTY/TDD users should contact the Washington Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-833-6388.
The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission & Salmon Defense will host an event, “Boldt 40″, a day of perspectives on the Boldt Decision, on February 5, 2014, 10 am-4pm at the Skookum Creek Event Center, Squaxin Island Tribe, Shelton, WA. 10 am-4pm
More information will be posted at http://boldt40.com .
BOLDT 4O Agenda
Helping with the proof reading of this wonderful book before it becomes ready for sale. It is amazing. I am so grateful to have the blessing of helping with the proof reading of one of my hero’s. Uncle Billy!
A Legacy Project biography of Northwest Indian activist, Billy Frank, Jr.
Please complete the form below to be notified when Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank, Jr. goes on sale.
Read more at https://www.sos.wa.gov/heritage/BillyFrankSignup.aspx
Marlon refuses the grammy
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Tagged Billy Frank Jr., First Nation, First Peoples, Fish Wars, Hank Adams, Human Rights, Indigenous, Jr, Make No Bones About It, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Robert Satiacum Sr., Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank