“Tuesday or Wednesday I got out of jail, the general foreman had my pictures hanging up – he was just so proud of me!” Frank said with a laugh as he described the foreman’s reaction. “’You went to jail for your right’ – that’s how the union created us. They supported what we were doing.”
After the historic Boldt Decision in 1974, which acknowledged Native American rights to fish and harvest shellfish in their “usual and accustomed grounds,” Frank turned to protecting salmon and the environment. He has served as the chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for more than 30 years.
“When I was a young kid and drifting on the Nisqually River, I always wondered who is going to take care of us? I look over here at the sportsmen and the game department – they take care of them,” Frank said. “But I look at us Indians and nobody takes care of us, no infrastructure or anything. Well, today we have an infrastructure now, with the Northwest Indians Fishing Commission and all of our tribes.”