Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribal elder who was arrested dozens of times while trying to assert his native fishing rights during the 1960s and ‘70s, poses for a photo Monday, January 13, 2014, near Frank’s Landing on the Nisqually River in Nisqually, Washington.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribal elder who was arrested dozens of times while trying to assert his native fishing rights during the 1960s and ‘70s, poses for a photo Monday, January 13, 2014, near Frank’s Landing on the Nisqually River in Nisqually, Washington.

Tribal Rights Legend and Leader Billy Frank Jr. Walks On

In 2004, we celebrated 30 years since the Boldt Decision of 1974, the landmark Indian fishing rights victory, that Billy Frank Jr. fought so hard for.

“Frank is widely credited as conscience and soul of the efforts by Indian people in Washington to secure their rights to a fair share of fish on their ancient waterways and, by implication and serious struggle, the effort to ensure the survival of steelhead and salmon,” says an editorial that ran on IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork.com on March 1, 2004.

Today, we mourn his passing. He was 83.

“It is with great sadness that we must inform you of the passing of Billy Frank Jr. this morning. No other information is available at this time. The NWIFC offices will be closed for the remainder of the day,” read the announcement on the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission website today.

We will have a larger story as information becomes available. In the meantime, read more about Billy Frank Jr.’s life here:

RELATED: Evans: Billy Frank Jr., a living symbol of courage and reconciliation

RELATED: Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr.

RELATED: We Need to Win the Battle for Salmon Recovery

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