Former Congressman Norm Dicks Remembers Billy Frank, Jr.

May 5, 2014

Statement of Congressman Norm Dicks:

Washington State has lost one of its greatest tribal leaders.  Billy Frank led the fight to establish Indian fishing rights that were part of the treaties established in 1854 by Governor Stevens.

The Boldt Decision was highly controversial in 1974, but it was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.  Billy Frank, as Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, always fought to protect our salmon runs.

Billy and his family were my friends and we worked together on the restoration of the Nisqually River delta, which included restoring the estuary function by taking out farming dikes that blocked saltwater from flooding the valley on incoming tides. We also worked together in placing a hatchery on the Nisqually River and, on another occasion, restoring school facilities that were flooded.

Billy devoted his entire life to protecting our salmon runs.  He had a great sense of humor and was always willing to give a speech off-the-cuff.   His contributions will help generations to come.  He will be greatly missed.