Native American Elders Discuss Northwest Fishing Rights

Billy Frank, Jr.Hank AdamsNative American elders Billy Frank Jr. and Hank Adams will meet Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. in Cone Chapel at Willamette University to discuss "Lessons for Future Generations from the Struggle for Northwest Treaty Fishing Rights." The lecture is free and open to the public.

Frank, a Nisqually tribal member, and Adams, who is Assiniboine-Sioux, are recipients of the national American Indian Visionary Award and are long-time activists for salmon restoration and treaty rights. The conversation will be moderated by Elizabeth Woody, director of Ecotrust's Indigenous Leadership Program.

Frank and Adams were on the front lines when the battle over treaty-guaranteed Indian fishing rights erupted in the 1960s and '70s. As the current chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Frank has worked to achieve a number of key agreements between the tribes and various local, state and federal officials that further strengthen treaty-guaranteed fishing rights and environmental protection laws.

In the 1970s, Adams served as a leader behind the famous Trail of Broken Treaties march on Washington and the subsequent Indian occupation of the BIA headquarters building. He also served as the last expert witness in the court case that eventually upheld treaty fishing rights for Northwest tribes, the so-called "Boldt Decision."

This forum is supported by Indian Country Conversations, a Willamette University series that brings people together to discuss issues of interest to Native Americans. The Indian Country Conversations Series is sponsored by the Office of the President and the College of Liberal Arts.