600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
May 05, 2014
Contact: Bruce Botka, (360) 902-2262
Darren Friedel, (360) 902-2256
Statement from WDFW Director Phil Anderson
on the passing of Billy Frank Jr.
"Billy Frank Jr. was one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was a no-nonsense and straightforward communicator while at the same time warm and caring of other human beings. I looked forward to the embrace I got every time we met and was honored to have known him for so many years.
"I will never forget the twinkle in his eye when he saw and spoke with the young people who gathered with him at the 40th anniversary of the Boldt decision, held just a few months ago. It was clear that family meant everything to him.
"Billy was widely recognized as a great leader and he took on that role with grace and honor. The mere presence of him changed the atmosphere in the room. No one ever questioned his role as a leader. No one ever questioned his passion for natural resources. And no one ever questioned his commitment to Indian people.
"His willingness to fight for his people and for the salmon never once waivered throughout his life. When it came to saving salmon, his challenge to all of us was captured by him saying: 'If we aren't going to do it, then who the hell is?'
"It's therefore up to us to continue the fight to save our salmon and preserve our natural resources for future generations. For his sake, we cannot fail. He set an example for many to follow, and I was honored to know him as my friend."