Six thousand people gathered at the Squaxin event center in Kalmiche to remember the life of Billy Frank Jr. An archive of memorial is available here.
Friends and family members recalled those quotes during the late Nisqually leader’s funeral service Sunday at the Little Creek Casino Resort’s Event Center near Shelton.
“We’re all going to miss this great man,” Squaxin Island tribal chairman David Lopeman said. “I always considered him chief — chief of all of us.”
Speakers at the memorial service recalled Frank’s work as the face of the 1970s civil-rights movement for treaty rights, his determination during the fish wars even in the face of violence and arrest, and how he continued his work even after a federal judge affirmed Indian treaty rights to half the region’s salmon.
They likened him to humanitarians like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Nelson Mandela.
They also spoke about the more personal side of Frank: his famous bear hugs and his ability to “cuss with class.”