Friday, March 2, 2018

Olympia Honors Native Leader

By Karen Robes Meeks

Olympia, Washington’s East Bay Trail and NorthPoint Park will be renamed in honor of the late Billy Frank Jr. The Port of Olympia Commission recently approved the renaming, done in partnership with the Squaxin Island Tribe and the Frank Family.

A dedication and blessing ceremony is expected to take place on Frank’s birthday, March 9, with construction to begin in the following days.

“This is a great opportunity to educate people on the History of Billy Frank Jr.,” said Billy’s son, Willie Frank. “He spent his life working to protect the environment and salmon. My dad realized, after being arrested over 50 times for exercising his Treaty Right, that we all need to come together for the health of the salmon and Puget Sound.”

Squaxin Island Tribe Chairman Arnold Cooper said the Squaxin Island Tribe is honored to be working with the port and the Frank family on the dedication of the Billy Frank Jr. Trail and Park. “This is a great opportunity to honor Billy’s legacy while educating the community on our history and culture,” he said.

The $80,000 trail and park project will feature several educational kiosks and interpretive signs “each highlighting a unique aspect of Frank, the Squaxin Island Tribe and the life-cycle of salmon,” as well as information about native plants and honor two previous Canoe Landings (Squaxin, 2012 and Nisqually, 2016), according to the port.

The Port Commission will fund up to $25,000; the rest will come from the Squaxin Island Tribe and Salmon Defense.