“I don’t believe in magic,” Billy once said. “I believe in the sun and the stars, the water, the tides, the floods, the owls, the hawks flying, the river running, the wind talking. They’re measurements. They tell us how healthy things are. How healthy we are. Because we and they are the same. That’s what I believe in. Those who learn to listen to the world that sustains them can hear the message brought forth by the salmon.”
Billy Frank Jr., who passed away Monday at the age of 83, was a legendary tribal elder, the moral lodestar and unflinching advocate of the tribal sovereignty movement nationally, an Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize winner, the chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, “uncle” to thousands, and a founding Leadership Council member at the Puget Sound Partnership. On Monday, as on most days, he was on his way to a meeting about fish and tribal treaty rights.
For many, it can take a lifetime to know what you mean and to convey it unambiguously, to have your first essential audience, ... Read more