Billy Frank and Hank Adams in Oregon tomorrow

From the Statesman:

The lessons of the past can help guide the future.

That’s the message to be delivered by Native American elders Billy Frank Jr. and Hank Adams at a free forum Wednesday night at Willamette University.

Frank, a Nisqually tribal member, and Adams, who is Assiniboine-Sioux, are recipients of the national American Indian Visionary Award and are longtime activists for salmon restoration and treaty rights.

Forty years ago, when the battle about treaty-guaranteed Indian fishing rights erupted, Frank and Adams were on the front lines.

In the 1970s, Adams served as a leader behind the famous Trail of Broken Treaties march on Washington, D.C., and the subsequent Indian occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters building. He also served as the last expert witness in the court case that eventually upheld treaty fishing rights for Northwest tribes.

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 strengthen treaty-guaranteed fishing rights and environmental protection laws.

Frank was awarded the first American Indian Visionary Award by the editorial circle of Indian Country Today in 2004.

The conversation will be moderated by Elizabeth Woody, the director of Ecotrust’s Indigenous Leadership Program.