The Billy Frank Jr. National Statuary Hall Selection Committee selected Seattle artist Haiying Wu to design a statue of Billy Frank Jr. for the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. The statue will honor the celebrated Nisqually leader and activist, who passed away in May 2014.
“I am looking forward to working with Mr. Wu and having him come here to Nisqually and learn my dad’s story and our tribe’s story,” said Willie Frank III, Tribal Chair of the Nisqually Tribe and son of Billy Frank Jr. “I am confident that Mr. Wu is going to draw visitors to Statuary Hall to my father’s likeness and make them want to know more.”
Representative Debra Lekanoff (D-40th) sponsored the original bill to commission the statue. “I am honored to witness the collaboration of the Billy Frank Jr. Statue Commission with the Frank Family and Nisqually Tribe,” said Lekanoff. “They are united in their dedication to ensure that the artist can convey to the world the boundless salmon spirit of Billy Frank Jr., who represents the best of who we are in Washington State—and who we strive to be.”
Billy Frank Jr., born on March 9, 1931, was a Nisqually tribal member. He fought tirelessly to ensure that the United States government would honor the promises made in the treaties with Washington tribes. His unwavering commitment to the fight against racism and abuse has had global influence. In 2015, he was posthumously awarded the presidential medal of freedom by President Barack Obama.