NCAI Grieves The Loss Of Billy Frank, Jr.

Published on May 05, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is grieving the loss of Billy Frank, Jr. A member of the Nisqually Tribe, Billy spent his life fighting for our right to fish and protect our own waters and fiercely advocated for the complete fulfillment of treaty commitments by the federal government.
Billy Frank, Jr. has been the Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) since its inception in 1974. NWIFC was created following a Supreme Court decision “that re-affirmed the tribes’ treaty-reserved fishing rights and established them as natural resources co-managers with the State of Washington” and serves “to assist member tribes in their role as natural resources co-managers.”
NCAI President Brian Cladoosby had the honor of growing up under Billy Frank, Jr. As he did with Brian, Billy guided many young leaders across the country and shared with them the importance of natural resources and the value of treaty rights. Together, with Billy's teachings to sustain culture and a unique Northwest quality of life, we will continue to work together to protect all that is important to our Tribes.  Upon learning the news, President Cladoosby said:
“Indian Country has lost one of the greatest leaders who fought to protect salmon, water, and quality of life for our people. The loss of a Billy as our teacher, mentor, and elder is immeasurable. Our very way of life is only possible because of the battles Billy fought – without his personal sacrifices, tribes in the Northwest would look very different. My own life would be very different if I had not had been blessed by Billy’s teachings, example, and love. My prayers go out to his family and the many, many others whose lives he touched.”
Billy Frank, Jr. has walked on but will never be forgotten. NCAI lifts up his family, friends, and tribe.
Visit  for more information about Billy’s work and legacy at the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.
No written account will ever truly encapsulate Billy’s life, but this New York Times article presents Billy and his work admirably.
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