Cantwell Statement on the Passing of Billy Frank Jr.

Cantwell: ‘Billy Frank was a legend among men’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement on the passing of civil rights leader Billy Frank, Jr., a Nisqually Tribal elder and Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.  

“Billy Frank was a legend among men,” said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Today, America lost a civil rights leader whose impact will be felt for generations to come.  

“Billy Frank stood as a guiding light for Native people to stand up for their rights in a non-violent way. His bravery and leadership led to the breakthrough Boldt Decision, which forever changed the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Today, because of the Boldt Decision, the state and Tribes are partners in the management and preservation of resources that are foundational to the economy of the state.  

“Until the very end, Billy continued to fight for Tribes’ Treaty rights, including fighting for a healthy environment that can sustain salmon and other resources for the next generations. 

“I wish to send my condolences to Billy’s family, many of whom continue his great work today.  Indian Country will miss this giant of a man. I will miss my friend and the smile that he always brought to my face.”