Washington State will send a statue of Nisqually activist Billy Frank Jr. to Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. in 2025.

Billy Frank Jr. Statue Project

Tell Your Story

ArtsWA and the Nisqually Indian Tribe invite everyone to tell their story of knowing Billy, working with Billy, or being inspired by Billy’s story. How to tell your story:

  • Post on social media and use the hashtag #bfjtellyourstory
  • Send an email to story@bfjtellyourstory.org with your written or recorded story
  • Record your story with Nisqually and ArtsWA at a community event

We invite to explore stories below!

Cleo Frank was interviewed in 2023 at a Nisqually community event. Listen to her conversation with ArtsWA Communications Manager Michael Wallenfels below.

Bill Kallappa II is the Chair of the Washington State Board of Education. Children of the Setting Sun filmed Bill’s story at Billy Frank Jr. Day 2024.

Ellany Kayce filmed her story at Billy Frank Jr. Day 2024.

Anthony (Tony) Meyer sent his story to story@bfjtellyourstory.org.

I had the good fortune to work with Billy for more than 30 years at the NW Indian Fisheries Commission.

The thing about Billy was that he lifted your spirits every time you saw him. “Tony, my boy!” he would often say in greeting “How we doin?”

He had a way of making you feel that you and the job you were doing were not just important but absolutely essential to recovering salmon and protecting treaty rights.

“I love you guys,” he told us at an employee appreciation lunch just before he walked on in 2014. None of us who were there will ever forget that.

This writer, who asked to be attributed as “Daughter of Ernest Kolchote Cheeka, Makah Indian from Ozette Village Neah Bay”, sent their story to story@bfjtellyourstory.org.

We grew up in Olympia and as a child I went everywhere with Dad. One of the places we went was the Nisqually River. We’d stand on the banks and watch Billy fish, and we’d watch Billy get arrested for it.

I was young and I asked my dad why we were even there because it wasn’t our fishing territory, so if we can’t fish, why are we there?

He said, “Because Billy is my friend. I want him to see us and know we are here supporting his right to fish. I’ll never stop being here for him because I know he would be doing the same for me if it came to it.”

On May 17, 1999 our tribe harpooned and brought home its first whale in more than 70 years. The entire community was on the beach waiting in excitement. I ran down to the beach to join everyone. Standing on the beach with my dad was who by then I called “Uncle” Billy. When I ran up to them Uncle yelled, “Heeeyyyyyyy Kiddo! Today is a GOOD day!” and gave me one of his big hugs. He said, “Man, I love ya!” I said, “I love you, too.” I then hugged my dad and moved along to find my children, also on the beach celebrating.

This always stayed with me, their lifelong friendship, Uncle Billy’s way of watching over all. His genuine love for all people, all things. His teachings stay with me as much as my own father’s. That’s his impact. And I am only one. Man, what a gift to see all the ripples of his teachings

Randy Derrickson was interviewed in 2023 at a Nisqually community event. Listen to his conversation with ArtsWA Communications Manager Michael Wallenfels below.

Marjorie Stepetin (Nisqually) was interviewed in 2023 at a Nisqually community event. Listen to her conversation with ArtsWA Communications Manager Michael Wallenfels below.

News & updates


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Project update: March

Billy Frank Jr

Haiying Wu’s statue design approved by the Joint Committee on the Library. New video profile of Haiying Wu. Billy Frank Jr. statue to be completed at SPSCC in newly announced partnership.